NEWS BRIEFS - Spring 2023

May 30, 2023


Phil Nichols

Dr. Phil Nichols, assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, received the prestigious Early Career Achievement Award from the national Literacy Research Association. Nichols studies how science and technology condition the ways we practice, teach, and talk about literacy; he joined the Baylor faculty in 2018 after completing his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. Through the award, the LRA annually recognizes one member for achievements in the first seven years after earning their doctorate.

Jessica Akers

Dr. Jessica Akers, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, received a $893,409 grant award from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop an innovative treatment model for children with autism and their siblings. Project Sibling SUCCESS invites siblings of children with autism or “special siblings” to participate as a vital member of the intervention team. Although behavioral interventions are highly effective for children with autism, these behavior programs rarely address the importance of the sibling relationship.

Rishi Sriram

Dr. Rishi Sriram, associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and director of the MSEd in Higher Education and Student Affairs, was selected as a Senior Scholar of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), a leading association in the field of higher education student affairs that advocates for the integration of research and scholarship in the practice of student affairs.

Kellie Dixon

Dr. Kellie Dixon, lecturer in the School of Education’s EdD in Learning & Organizational Change in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, was also honored by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) as a 2023 Diamond Honoree. Before joining the Baylor faculty in January of 2023, Dr. Dixon held several positions in institutions of higher education in fields of academic affairs and student life.

Alumni Honors

Michael McFarland

Texas governor Greg Abbott appointed Dr. Michael McFarland to the State Board for Educator Certification for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2027. A 1993 Baylor graduate, McFarland earned his EdD in the Department of Educational Leadership in 2005. He is superintendent of Crowley ISD and a Baylor regent.

Ashley Gibson

Humanities Texas honored Dr. Ashley Gibson, a 2021 graduate of the EdD in Learning & Organizational Change, as a recipient of the 2022 Humanities Texas Outstanding Teaching Award. With a classroom career spanning 15 years, Gibson was teaching English at Galena Park High School in Galena Park ISD when she received the award. She is now teaching English and Advanced Placement research at Kingwood High School.

Jessica Gonzales

Dr. Jennifer Gonzales, a 2022 graduate of the EdD in Learning & Organizational Change, received the Dissertation Award from the national School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) in recognition of her dissertation research — a five-phase mixed-methods study titled “Leveraging the Role of an Instructional Coach to Close Middle School Mathematics Teachers’ Knowing-Doing Gap: A Mixed Methods Experimental Study.”

Amy Smith

Amy Smith, a 1999 SOE graduate and biology teacher at Midway High School, was honored for her work mentoring Baylor students as the 2023 Outstanding Mentor Teacher by the South Central Area Network for Professional Development Schools. Over the course of her 16 years as a mentor teacher at Midway High School, Smith has hosted 13 Baylor students, including seniors who are student teaching interns and juniors who teach four mornings a week through Baylor's program.

Graduate Student Recognition

Maryanne Hebda
Maryann Hebda

Two doctoral students in the School of Education's Department of Educational Psychology received Baylor’s 2021-2022 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, a prestigious honor that is awarded by the Baylor Graduate School, based on faculty nomination, course evaluation, teaching philosophy, and professional development.

Nori Ryland
Nori Ryland

Maryann Hebda was praised by her faculty nominator for her dedication to teaching, passion for education, conscientiousness, diligence to a task, and exceptional interpersonal skills. Nori Ryland was lauded by her nominator for her passion for teaching, ability to make course content applicable, fine-tuned interpersonal skills, academic skills, poise, and discipline.