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College of Education’s online programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report released their 2017 rankings of best online programs among colleges and universities across the country this week.

Georgia Southern University’s online graduate education programs are positioned near the top third of all schools participating in the survey, outranking state institutions including University of West Georgia, Valdosta State University, Columbus State University, and Armstrong State University.

Rankings are based on five general categories including student engagement, student services and technology, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.

While marks for the College’s faculty credentials and training are on par with the top 10 percent of the schools ranked, Georgia Southern’s positioning in the rankings is reflective of admission policy that makes programs more accessible.

“The intent of our online education graduate degrees at Georgia Southern is to provide all educational professionals wishing to improve their understanding of educational theory and practice with the access to high quality, online master’s of education programs,” said Thomas Koballa, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education. “Two of the College’s largest online programs are University System of Georgia collaboratives which explicitly have accessibility for Georgia teachers as their mission.”

Education graduate degrees offered by Georgia Southern help graduate students to build knowledge of pedagogical theory and techniques, gain leadership skills, and develop new research-based approaches for supporting student success. The College offers over 20 graduate degree options including master’s, specialist’s, and hybrid (combination of online and face-to-face coursework) doctoral degrees.

In line with the College’s desire to provide accessible, high quality advanced degree options, three new fully-online graduate degrees are being offered starting Fall 2017 including: M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education; M.Ed. in Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students; and a M.Ed. in Evaluation, Assessment, Research, and Learning.

“The three new master’s degree programs address market needs,” said Tracy Linderholm, Ph.D., associate dean of graduate education and research for the College of Education. “We have addressed the need for advanced training in teaching diverse students in south Georgia, preparing early childhood educators, and preparing people for data-driven jobs that require program evaluations, data analysis and assessment.”

For more information about the College of Education’s graduate degrees, visit:

COE alumnus named Georgia Superintendent of the Year


Joseph C. Barrow, Jr., Ed.D.

Georgia Southern College of Education Alumnus Joseph (Jody) Barrow, Jr., Ed.D., was named Georgia’s 2017 Superintendent of the Year during the December 2016 Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) and Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) Winter Conference held in Atlanta.

Barrow is serving his fourth year as Superintendent of Fayette County Schools. He began his career in education in 1980 and has since served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent across the K-12 spectrum in several Georgia school systems.

“There are many amazing Superintendents across Georgia, so being selected by one’s peers is truly humbling,” said Barrow. “I believe the recognition really is more about the reflection of the wonderful students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community partners I have the pleasure of working with everyday in the Fayette County School system. I am just fortunate enough to get to be one of the lead cheerleaders!”

Barrow has been awarded multiple honors during his career. He received the prestigious Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Bill Barr Leadership Award as well as being named the Georgia Association of Educational Leader’s Outstanding Educator and the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth Champion of the Year. He was recognized by the Georgia Senate for efforts in educational excellence and was chosen as Superintendent of the Year for the Georgia Head Start Program in 2012.

In 2015, Barrow was selected as the College of Education (COE) Alumnus of the Year. He also serves as a member of the College’s Board of Advisors.

A Double Eagle, Barrow earned both his B.S.Ed. and M.Ed. in Health and Physical Education from Georgia Southern University.

Two COE staff members nominated for Merit Award

Carol Fox (pictured right) with Georgia Southern University President Jamie Hebert, Ph.D.


Jennifer Stocking (pictured right) with Georgia Southern University President Jamie Hebert, Ph.D.

On Thursday, January 5, two staff members from the College of Education (COE) were recognized at a University-wide ceremony for 2017 Merit Award Nominees. Carol Fox, Senior Administrative Secretary of the Office for Undergraduate Teacher Education and Accreditation, and Jennifer Stocking, Assistant to the Dean of the College, were presented with certificates for their nomination.

The University’s Staff Merit Awards recognize staff members whose commitment goes above and beyond to provide excellent customer service to the Georgia Southern campus and community.

Fox began her career at the University in 2008 in the mechanical and electrical engineering department. She joined COE in 2012 and provides support to the Office of Undergraduate Teacher Education with placements of teacher candidates for field experiences and student teaching in regional schools. Fox completed her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Georgia Southern. Prior to joining the University, she served as a court reporter in the Superior Court System.

Stocking joined the University in 2010 where she served as an Academic Advisor for the College of Health and Human Sciences. She began her position as the Assistant to the Dean in the College of Education in September 2012 where she provides administrative and analytical support to the dean in a variety of areas including budgets, correspondence, and special projects. She holds a bachelor’s of American Studies from the University of Minnesota and a master’s of American Studies from Bowling Green State University. Prior to her start at Georgia Southern, Stocking was employed at Emory University for 12 years.

To be nominated for a Merit Award, a staff member must have been employed at the University for at least one continuous year and in good standing. Nominees must receive one endorsement form outlining how the candidate meets the criteria for the award  and two supporting endorsement forms from those who are familiar with the candidate’s work. Staff Merit Awards criteria include examples of character, dedication, job performance and customer service.

For more information about Service and Merit Awards at Georgia Southern University, visit

College of Education faculty invited to educational technology summit at the White House


COE associate professor Charles Hodges, Ph.D., is pictured standing in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Georgia Southern’s College of Education faculty member Charles Hodges, Ph.D. was invited to the White House in Washington, D.C. on December 14 to participate in the Innovators Summit hosted by the Office of Educational Technology (OET) at the U.S. Department of Education.

The Advancing Educational Technology in Teacher Preparation Innovators’ Summit provided an opportunity for schools of education and teacher preparation programs to discuss and plan technology implementations at their institutions. The event also highlighted the forward-thinking work of innovators across the field and provided a forum to share ideas, progress and success stories.

Hodges and attendees of the summit heard remarks from Senior Policy Advisor for Education at the White House, Mario Cardona; Under Secretary for Education at the U.S. Department of Education, Dr. Ted Mitchell; and Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, Dr. Joseph South.

As a result of the summit, Hodges has committed to future work with a group on the topic of building sustainable program-wide systems of professional learning for higher education instructors to strengthen and continually refresh their capacity to use technological tools to enable transformative learning and teaching.

“I am looking forward to seeing how I can bring information from this experience and the continued work from it into our work in the College of Education, my classes and with teachers in Georgia and beyond,” said Hodges.

An associate professor in the College’s Department of Leadership, Technology and Human Development, Hodges is actively engaged in educational technology research and service at both the national and international level through organizations such as the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) where he serves as the editor-in-chief of the association’s journal TechTrends. He serves on the Committee on Innovation and Technology of American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) and is involved with the with the National Technology Leadership Coalition.

Hodges is also in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education’s OET to implement rapid cycle evaluation into one of his upcoming graduate-level courses, FRIT 7237: Evaluation of Education Needs and Programs.

“I am thankful that I work in a College and University that support my participation in these various professional activities,” said Hodges. “Even though we live in a digitally connected society with easy video conferencing, travel to attend face-to-face meetings and the working groups that accompany them is essential to meet and work with people on important practice and policy initiatives.”

“It felt good to be able represent our College of Education and Georgia Southern University at the White House,” he added.

College of Education names winner in 3D printer contest

Sallie Zetterower Elementary STEM teacher and winning proposal writer Ansley Mays (pictured left) explains to her 5th grade class some of the projects she hopes to accomplish with the use of their new 3D printer. Looking on in the background (l-r) are College of Education’s Eunbae Lee, Ph.D., Dean Thomas Koballa, and Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D.


Sallie Zetterower Elementary School was named the winner of the 3D Printer for Your School contest hosted by the College of Education’s Innovation Studio at Georgia Southern University. The printer was delivered to the Sallie Zetterower Elementary STEM Lab on Monday during the 5th grade STEM class.

In October, the College announced it was accepting proposals for a contest to provide the use of a 3D printer for an area school. In an effort to expand their partnerships with P-12 schools, Innovation Studio founders and College of Education faculty Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D., and Eunbae Lee, Ph.D., established the contest to provide an opportunity for collaboration while offering students the chance to broaden their problem solving and critical thinking skills through STEM activities.

“Through hands-on experiences with new technologies, like the 3D printer, the Innovation Studio shows all of our learners that technology can be both a tool to create and to educate others about the learning process,” said Akcaoglu.

Proposals required schools to detail plans for use of the 3D printer as well as learning outcomes for students.

“The proposal from Sallie Zetterower was a very strong proposal that was well planned,” explained Lee.

The plan includes ideas to combine 3D printing activities with the school’s growing outdoor classroom. Each grade will have specific performance tasks that can be related to units commonly covered in their math or science classes.  

Pictured l-r: COE Dean Thomas Koballa; Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson; Sallie Zetterower Elementary STEM teacher Ansley Mays; Sallie Zetterower Elementary Principal Julie Mizell; Chair of the Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development Beth Durodoye, Ed.D.; and Founders of the Innovation Studio and COE faculty Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D. and Eunbae Lee, Ph.D.

Sallie Zetterower award-winning teacher and author of the proposal Ansley Mays’ excitement when telling her 5th grade class about the lab’s newest piece of equipment was contagious.

“One of my passions is the outdoor classroom, and I wanted to find a way to use a 3D printer and connect this project across grade levels,” said Mays. “This printer will provide approximately 700 students with hands-on experiences that enrich their classroom lessons.”

Each of Bulloch County Schools’ nine elementary schools has a STEM Exploratory Lab with a dedicated teacher. All students cycle through the labs at least once each week for supplemental, innovative learning in addition to the science, technology, engineering and math lessons they already receive in their regular classroom setting.

Receiving a printer for the school’s use is not where this project ends. Innovation Studio’s Akcaoglu and Lee will coordinate with the Sallie Zetterower STEM Lab and Mays to help demonstrate the various projects that can be achieved with the use of a 3D printer.

“This will be a new partnership for the Innovation Studio,” explained Lee. “We are excited to collaborate with Sallie Zetterower and hope to also have them even visit the Innovation Studio on campus at Georgia Southern.”

The Innovation Studio is a space in the College of Education dedicated to serving educators, students, staff, youth and local community members to foster a culture of innovation and provide experience with cutting-edge technology. The studio was opened in 2015 with the assistance of funding from the College of Education and houses equipment including 3D printers, a virtual reality headset, large screen projection system, television with video gaming systems, robotics and more.

Innovation Studio Founders Eunbae Lee, Ph.D. (pictured background left) and Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D. (pictured background right) explain the 3D printing process to the 5th grade STEM class at Sallie Zetterower Elementary.

The College of Education is one of the eight colleges that make up Georgia Southern University. From 1924 to 1955, this institution’s main focus centered on educating or preparing future teachers and the bachelor’s degree in education is the University’s oldest professional degree. In 1992, COE established the University’s first doctoral program. Today, the College prepares future educators and leaders through intensive field experiences, cutting-edge technology and research-based instruction. COE offers four Bachelor of Science in Education majors that prepare students for teacher certification and it offers the Master of Arts in Teaching degree, ten Master of Education degrees, nine education specialist degrees and two doctoral degrees. There are three academic departments in the College of Education: Curriculum, Foundations and Reading; Leadership, Technology, and Human Development; and Teaching and Learning.

For more information visit:

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving 20,674 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit