Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 19, 2010

UI College of Education names three Dean’s Scholars

Sandra Damico, dean of the University of Iowa College of Education, has named three faculty members to the honor of Dean’s Scholars.

The award recognizes associate professors who are making significant progress toward promotion to full professor.  Each three-year award annually provides $3,000 of discretionary funds to assist the faculty member in supporting his or her research. The UI College of Education Academic Excellence Fund supports the awards.

The 2010-13 Dean’s Scholars, all faculty in the UI College of Education, are: Saba Ali, associate professor in the UI Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations; and John Hosp and Bill Therrien, both associate professors in the UI Department of Teaching and Learning.
“Each of these faculty members exemplifies the finest qualities of mid-career faculty. They are highly productive, energetic and engaged with their students and Iowa schools,” Damico said. “Their work continues to enrich the college’s curriculum and provide opportunities for their students.”

Ali plans to use the funds to support her research in the area of providing career education programming for underserved schools. Ali will use the funding to expand Project HOPE (Healthcare Occupations Preparation and Exploration), a career education “bridging” program that facilitates the exploration of health science professions for eighth grade students in rural Iowa middle schools in communities with large Mexican immigrant populations.

Project HOPE is a collaborative project between the UI College of Education and the UI health science colleges including medicine, public health, pharmacy, nursing and dentistry as well as the UI Hygienic Laboratory. The project also involves the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and several K-12 schools in rural Iowa districts including the West Liberty Middle School and Columbus Community Middle School in Columbus Junction.

Hosp will use the funds to assist in the development of secondary curriculum-based-measurement (CBM) reading measures. CBM is a standardized approach to classroom assessment that can be used to assist teachers in making screening and progress decisions in order to maximize their students’ outcomes.
Hosp said that while measures for the elementary grades have been around for nearly 30 years with advances in early literacy and numeracy made in the last 10 years, little work has been done in the secondary grades. There is an increasing need for such measures with the recent mandates for assessment within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the increased application of Response to Intervention (RtI) across grades K-12.

Therrien, who researches interventions for students with cognitive disabilities, will use the funds for two main areas of research: academic interventions for students with special needs and post-secondary programs for students with cognitive disabilities.

In the area of academic interventions for students with special needs, Therrien is in the preliminary stages of investigating comprehensive reading interventions for high school students with moderate cognitive disabilities. Although he said that conventional wisdom in his field indicates that it is difficult, if not impossible, to dramatically increase reading achievement past elementary school, Therrien said he has had preliminary success in significantly increasing reading achievement of high school students with cognitive disabilities via a program he and a Green Hills AEA reading specialist developed. Therrien plans to use the funds to continue to develop and assess these curricula materials.

In the area of post-secondary education for students with cognitive disabilities, Therrien is involved in providing and empirically assessing instructional programs for students in the UI College of Education’s Realizing Education and Career Hopes (REACH) Program. In the past, they have provided additional instruction in reading and math. Therrien will use grant funds to help create and refine additional supplemental curricula material, assess the effectiveness of supplemental programs and share findings.

For more information on the UI College of Education’s Dean Scholars awards, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,