Posted on August 21, 2020 by


The College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) is excited to begin the new academic year with 12 new assistant, associate, and full professors and three new department chairs. The new faculty members bring with them new talent and knowledge from prestigious institutions from around the nation.

“We are thrilled to have a large, diverse, and highly accomplished group of new faculty coming to COEHD this year. We welcome you joining our efforts to support student success and academic excellence,” said Margo DelliCarpini Vice Provost for Strategic Educational Partnerships and Dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “Faculty play a central role in COEHD, by serving as models for the next generation of scholars and practitioners, by driving the advancement of knowledge and discoveries to tackle society’s grand challenges. We achieve these roles with a central focus on the strength of diversity, in backgrounds, perspectives and ideas, and believe this diversity creates a space that supporting faculty success.”

In addition, this year’s cohort includes three new department chairs:

  • Dr. Alejandra Elenes, Chair of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Dr. Mariela Rodriguez, Interim Chair of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
  • Dr. Sharon Nichols, Chair of Educational Psychology

Read more about the new chairs !


Meet your new COEHD faculty!


Bicultural-Bilingual Studies

Bedrettin Yazan, Ph.D.

My research is mainly focused on language teacher learning and professional identity development in preservice and in-service teacher education contexts. I have three recent co-edited collections on language teacher identities in the US and international contexts:

Yazan, B., Canagarajah, S., & Jain, R. (Eds.). (2020). Autoethnographies in English language teaching: Transnational identities, pedagogies, and practices. Routledge.

Yazan, B. & Lindahl, K. (Eds.). (2020). Language teacher identity in TESOL: Teacher education and practice as identity work. Routledge.

Rudolph, N., Selvi, A.F., & Yazan, B. (Eds.). (2020). The complexity of identity and interaction in language education. Multilingual Matters.

Tian Zhongfeng, Ph.D.

Fueled through my own experience as a multilingual and transnational individual who has worked with culturally and linguistically diverse students in urban K-12 settings in China, Cambodia, and the U.S., I seek to leverage my scholarship to promote cultural and linguistic pluralism and justice in schools and society. My current research agenda focuses on understanding the language and literacy development of bilingual learners and developing culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogies to educate them in a more equitable and socially just way with both pre- and in-service teachers. I am a co-editor of an upcoming volume Envisioning TESOL through a Translanguaging Lens: Global Perspectives (Springer, 2020).


Educational Psychology

Hannah Macnaul, Ph.D.

My research aims to progress the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as develop non-obtrusive interventions based on the science of applied behavior analysis (ABA). I also conduct research related to multidisciplinary training and collaboration for higher education students and have conducted several projects evaluating university pedagogical teaching practices. I currently serve as a Co-Principal Investigator for Project ABA TEACHER, a grant-funded project that aims to prepare Texas teachers to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts ® and serve students with high-intensity needs such as autism.

Ian Thacker, Ph.D.

Ian Thacker studies STEM teaching and learning. He uses qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the role of attitudes, emotions, beliefs, and biases in conceptual change. He pursues three strands of research focused on: (a) mathematical skills that can be leveraged to support science learning, (b) the use of technology for STEM teaching and learning, and (c) teacher beliefs and biases that contribute to gender- and race-based achievement gaps in STEM. He is the recipient of the 2020 USC Ph.D. Achievement Award and his research and collaborations has been funded by NSF, Gates, SSHRC, APA, and internal research awards. 


Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching

Uchenna Emenaha, Ph. D.

My research focus is culturally responsive pedagogy, science education, anti-racist science teaching, and scientific argumentation. Honors: Two-time recipient of National Council on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) Scholar Award.

Cynthia Lima, Ph.D.

My research has focused on issues of equitable assessment for diverse learners, especially emergent bilinguals, engaging teacher candidates in the development of scientific practices and strengthening the teacher pipeline. The results of this research have been presented in national and international conferences including AERA, WERA, and invited presentations at different Mexican universities, including Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

My dissertation explored equity issues in large-scale assessment in science at the elementary level, receiving honorable mention in the AAHHE-ETS outstanding dissertation competition.

Finally, my research has been funded by different organizations including the National Science Foundation

Kaitlin Popielarz, Ph.D.

I examine the process of designing and implementing community-based learning experiences in methods courses alongside intergenerational grassroots organizations. My scholarship enhances pre-service teachers' understanding of community-based pedagogies while supporting youth organizers and their adult allies in social justice initiatives. Informed by critical qualitative methods, my research shares the implications of youth organizers as essential partners in teacher education for transformative social change within schools and communities. Peer-reviewed publications and an array of conference presentations highlight this research. I am the recipient of the 2019-2020 Graduate School Dissertation Research Support Award and Competitive Graduate Research Award at Wayne State University. 

Karina Vielma, Ph.D.

My research focuses on engineering education with a focus on improving equity and retention, student engagement through meaningful research experiences, and teaching and learning research methodologies for engineering and STEM educators. By incorporating educational best practices in innovative ways, my research seeks to discover new ways to help more students succeed in engineering, especially underrepresented minority students, first-generation college-goers, and women.


Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Rachel Cruz, Ph.D.

Through the creation of a Concentration in Mexican American Music, Dual/Early Enrollment Program, Dr. Cruz will research the effect of participation in a culturally specific interest group/learning cohort upon recruitment, retention, and college graduation rate. She authored The Art of Mariachi: A Curriculum Guide (Conocimeiento Press, 2017) as a catalyst for establishing an aligned curriculum in public school mariachi programs. The book won an International Latino Book Award August of 2020, adding Cruz to an impressive list of designated Award-Winning Authors. At UTSA, she will continue her work writing Mexican American Music Curriculum (Grades 6-12); An Anthology of Mexican Music; and about being a Chicana Musician.

Alejandra Elenes, Ph.D.

Marc Perry, Ph.D.

As a cultural anthropologist and community-based ethnographer, my work centers on the interplay of critical race studies, cultural analysis, and performance studies through a comparative approach to the U.S., circum-Caribbean, and the wider Afro-Atlantic region. My first book Negro Soy Yo: Hip Hop and Raced Citizenship in Neoliberal Cuba explores Cuba’s hip hop movement as a lens into the transnational complexities of race, culture, and social transformation on the island. My current research examines racial and class dynamics in New Orleans through interwoven currents of African American displacement, structural violence, and consumptive economies of culture, bodies, and space.

Sylvia Mendoza, Ph.D.

As a Tejana, my research interests reflect my deep personal and professional commitment to locating and centering the histories of Chicanx communities that have historically been erased or grossly misrepresented within the larger narrative of Texas history. Through the fields of Black and Chicanx feminisms, critical youth studies, and Chicanx education, my research centers the educational experiences of Chicanx communities, particularly youth, and how our community engages in education, cultural production and self-expression.