News Items from UNC Greensboro

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Dr. Lucía I. Méndez (Communication Sciences and Disorders) received new funding from the National Science Foundation for the project: “Bilingualtek: An Integrated Science-Language Instructional Approach for Latino Preschoolers.”

This project addresses the need to minimize differences in science learning opportunities faced by low-income Latino preschoolers through the development and assessment of Bilingualtek (BT). BT is a multimedia-supported, integrated science-language instructional approach focused on engaging science experiences, enriched by three innovative, mutually supporting instructional practices: scaffolded science talk, culturally and linguistically responsive science shared readings, and e-books with multimedia supports for science and dual language learning in the preschool.The project’s long-term objective is to foster academic achievement in Latino DLLs by developing synergetic science-language instructional approaches that build on the cultural and linguistic resources these children bring to their educational experiences in early childhood classrooms. The following objectives will be addressed in the project: 1. Co-design and develop Bilingualtek’s content and components, 2. Co-design training materials to enhance the fidelity of the teachers’ implementation of Bilingualtek, 3. Conduct an intervention study to evaluate all aspects of Bilingualtek including child outcomes when implemented with Latino preschoolers by preschool teachers in preschool classrooms    

aerial view of campus and downtown
  • Event will take place in the Elliott University Center Cone Ballroom.

Juneteenth is an annual national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. The day is also known as Black Independence Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Jubilee Day. Juneteenth is a symbolic date representing the freedom of many African descendants in the United States. Learn more about Juneteenth here.

The movement to recognize Juneteenth at UNCG was initiated and led by our students and supported by both staff and faculty. By celebrating Juneteenth as a campus community, we acknowledge the contributions of black enslaved persons and their struggle for freedom as an integral part of the American story. We also affirm our values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and our commitment to address racial inequities for a more just, equitable, and prosperous future for all. Visit racialequity.uncg.edu to learn more about UNCG’s commitment to racial equity, as well as resources for learning, news, and upcoming events.

The campus community is invited to join the Faculty and Staff Senate, Student Government Association, and the Graduate Student Association for UNCG’s inaugural Juneteenth celebration on Monday, June 21, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.in the Elliott University Center Cone Ballroom.

Attendees may enjoy fellowship, beignets, and coffee, and hear the poetry of Josephus Thompson, followed by a performance by the UNCG Jazz Quartet, as we come together to celebrate the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth.


Due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, this event is only open to the UNCG campus community. The event will follow the campus COVID-19 guidelines, which includes:

  • Face coverings are required for all indoor activities.
  • Face coverings are no longer required when outdoors, but they are still recommended in gatherings where maintaining social distance is not possible.
  • Attendees should continue to be respectful of others and maintain social distance. 
  • Do not attend campus activities if you develop COVID-like symptoms.

This story was updated June 18, to reflect the new location of the EUC Cone Ballroom.

The City of Greensboro’s Juneteenth celebration is on Saturday, June 19th from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information on the city’s event, visit their Juneteenth Schedule

Photography by Grant Evan Gilliard

Aerial view of campus with downtown Greensboro in background

UNC Greensboro has been named a regional winner of the 2021 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)

As a regional winner, UNCG will compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced in November. Other finalists for the award are the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Minnesota, and Virginia Tech.

The C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award includes a sculpture and $20,000 prize. The three other regional winners will each receive a cash prize of $5,000.

Since 2007, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement scholarship and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to deepen their partnerships to achieve broader impacts in their communities. 

UNCG is recognized for its multipronged approach to increasing access to culturally responsive scholarship and community engagement. Through initiatives such as the Immigrant Health ACCESS Project (IHAP), part of the Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC), UNCG has helped create multi-directional pathways of health care access for marginalized communities. IHAP reaches over 700 uninsured immigrant and refugee adults in the greater Greensboro area each year. CNNC is transforming refugee and immigrant services as it also transforms understanding and scholarship about the issues facing these communities. CNNC students, faculty, and community research fellows have contributed 25 peer-reviewed publications and over 20 practitioner-oriented publications and reports.

“At UNCG, we take pride in our commitment to community engagement. The work taking place at the Center for New North Carolinians is a tangible example of how we translate this commitment into practice. It’s the fulfillment of our mission as a public university,” said Dr. Terri L. Shelton, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement. “I am pleased to see the work of CNNC nationally recognized. For over 20 years, the Center has been bringing together University and community partners to advance access and integration for our immigrant and refugee communities in North Carolina. We look forward to continuing the great community-engaged work happening across our campus.”

“Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Kellogg Community Engagement Awards and our exemplary designees,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Public research universities have a unique role in addressing the challenges facing their communities and we’re pleased to highlight the excellent work of institutions on the leading edge of this work. They are harnessing the immense talent and assets to tackle complex challenges in their communities.”

A team of community engagement professionals from public research universities judged this round of the award. A second team will pick the national winner following presentations at the 2021 National Engagement Scholarship Conference.

This article is part of a series of regular updates on the process of creating the new University website, uncg.edu. As teams across campus work on preparing content to migrate to the new site, the goal is to keep prospective students top of mind as the intended audience.

May 2021:
In consultation with our website design vendor, VisionPoint Marketing, the Next Generation Web Project (NGWP) has concentrated on the technical needs of the new website. The ITS Digital Engagement Platforms team is overseeing the development of each web page template and their components to ensure that site managers are not required to have development nor design skills to keep their webpages up to date. The templates and components are being developed in a WordPress feature called Gutenberg Blocks, which will allow content managers to build a page layout by selecting the desired components and then adding the content – text, images, and video – that bring the pages to life. 

A key technical need is to determine who needs editorial permission – and for which pages – within the new uncg.edu site. In May, content team members were asked to share the names of those within their business or academic unit who will need access to content in the new site. The rule of thumb for determining content managers is: “If you own this content now, you will own it in the future too.” Thus, the NGWP is working to ensure those current content curators and managers will continue to be able to access their content at uncg.edu. For example, colleges and schools will develop program pages for uncg.edu and will have access to each of their programs’ pages to develop the content needed to support enrollment into their programs. 

June 2021:
Content teams are writing the first draft of webpage content for the new site and identifying images and other visual assets for each page. University Communications liaisons will review the first draft copy to ensure that message and tone remain on brand and consistent as multiple writers develop webpage copy. Due to a change in personnel, there will be a shift in content liaisons in July, and those teams affected have been contacted by their new liaison. Because the web is always evolving and content needs to keep pace with what is happening at the University, content teams are also tracking content changes that will need to be implemented from the first draft to the launch of the new site. 

The new site navigation will include an “Arts” link, and conversations regarding page content and how to display it have begun. Many thanks to Dean John Kiss, Dean bruce mcclung, and Vice Chancellor Cathy Akens for their listening tour participant recommendations, and an advanced note of gratitude to those faculty and staff members who will develop the “Arts” and “Campus Life and Resources” pages in the coming weeks. 

Stay in touch with the project’s timeline, designs, frequently asked questions and more by visiting the Next Generation Web Project page

Dr. Yarneccia D. Dyson (Social Work) has received new funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration for the project “Integrated Behavioral Health & Racial Equity Scholars Program.” Dr. Melissa Floyd-Pickard, Dr. Jay Poole, and Dr. Danielle C. Swick are co-principal investigators on the project.

With a special focus placed on the knowledge and understanding of children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth at risk for behavioral health disorders, this project has the following measurable aims:

Aim 1: To increase the number of interdisciplinary experiential student placements that use a team based to promote the integration of behavioral health into primary care settings in high need and high demand areas. Measures: 1) Stipends provided to 100 JMSW students and 8 JPHD over 4 years; 2) Minimum of 80% of students will demonstrate an increase in their  Social Worker Integrated Care Competencies Scale scores over the year; 3) At least 95% of students will receive a grade of ‘B’ or higher in the Telehealth or independent study course; 4) Interdisciplinary training slots will increase from 60% (current) to 75% (benchmark).

Aim 2: To enhance didactic and experiential training activities for students that include modules on trauma informed care, racial implicit bias in health settings, violence prevention, children, adolescents, and transitional-age youth, and enhanced awareness of intersectional identities. Measures: 1) Develop 6 new trainings that focus on integrated behavioral health (two sessions), racial equity and serving racial/ethnic minorities in health settings (two sessions), and addressing violence prevention, and youth from trauma informed approach (two sessions); 2) At least 75% of field placement sites will adopt/include experiential training activities; 3) At least 200 individuals will access the iHelp app.

Aim 3: To extend trainings to students, interdisciplinary faculty, and community-based partners in order to reduce disparities in access to behavioral and public health services and improve health outcomes. Measures: 1) At least 95% of students will receive a passing grade in their field courses; 2) Minimum 80% of participants will show an increase in knowledge scores on pre- and post-tests; 3) Minimum 60% of students will show a decrease in implicit bias scores on Implicit Association Tests.

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the week.

  • Dr. Debra J. Barksdale was featured in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education for her upcoming dean position in the School of Nursing. The feature. 
  • Dr. Jocelyn Smith Lee was featured in The Radio Times on healing people hurt from violence and racial trauma. The feature. 
  • Dr. Noah Lenstra’s article was featured in Environmental News Bits. His article was about public libraries and their initiative to double as food distribution hubs. The article. 
  • Dr. Keith Debbage was quoted in a News & Record article as he talked about vaccination and the politics around that in the Triad. The article. 
  • Dr. Rebecca Adams was featured in Today Headline on friendships post-COVID. The feature. 
  • Dr. Jennifer Etnier was featured in a Live Long and Master Aging Podcast episode, where she spoke about exercise and the research behind the possibility of it slowing some diseases of old age. The episode. 
  • Dr. Lynne Lewallen was quoted in a North Carolina Health News article, talking about her career choice during COVID-19. The article.
  • Dr. Mark Elliott was quoted in a Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette article, talking about Civil War monuments. The article.

Dr. Sandra Ayoo (Educational Research Methodology) received new funding from Habitat for Humanity International, Inc. for the project “Habitat retrospective and prospective homeowner study and Mortgage-related relief data analysis.”

Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) requests UNCG faculty develop an IRB protocol for two homeowner studies: the retrospective study for new construction and repair to be launched in June 2021 and an affiliate survey to be launched in July 2021. Habitat staff will take the lead of the retrospective study while UNCG faculty will support Habitat staff in creating the prospective study based on the data and lessons learned from the retrospective study to be launched in September/October 2021. Habitat staff are currently in the process of beta testing the questions for the survey and creating several versions of the survey to launch this summer.

Photo of Stephen Sills

Dr. Stephen Sills (Center for Housing and Community Studies) received new funding from the National League of Cities for the project “Technical Assistance in Geospatial Health and Housing Data for the City of Bloomington, Illinois – Economic and Community Development Department.”

CHCS will work with the City of Bloomington, the Healthy Housing Team, and other local stakeholders on the creation of an interactive map that shows the geospatial location of health outcomes, housing, and interventions as well as conduct statistical analysis on the correlations between health indicators and social determinants. CHCS will also work with the City and stakeholders to examine intervention strategies that would leverage existing community resources and identify potential new resources. Long term, the map and data will assist with other planning initiatives such as an update to the Community Health Needs Assessment, the City of Bloomington Consolidated Plan, and neighborhood level planning. We propose a comprehensive planning process that starts with a convening of stakeholders to determine 1) who the end-user of the data and mapping system will be, 2) what key data elements will need to be collected for the mapping system and baseline database, and 3) which entities will be responsible for long-term sustainability of the data and mapping system. This user-centered design is essential to producing a dashboard system that will be useful and sustainable well after the initial project period. Bloomington has identified a number of potential data sources but notes that these sources are not all accessible nor organized on the census tract or block group level. CHCS will assist the City of Bloomington and the Healthy Housing Team to index and compile existing data; identify, and acquire additional data as needed; as well as to geocode/aggregate any point level data. Finally, CHCS will produce an online Geographic Information System and Dashboard or Interactive map using ArcGIS Online. The system will be shared with the City of Bloomington to be updated and revised in order to refresh data and as future data sources are added.

Photo of Dianne Welsh

Dr. Dianne Welsh (Bryan School, Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program) has been awarded the Outstanding Contributions to Advancing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Award, which goes to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary achievements in entrepreneurship in higher education.

Welsh was presented the award at the 10th annual Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, where hundreds of higher education, business, government, and nonprofit leaders gathered virtually to advance support for inventors and startups.

The symposium is presented by its founders UMass Lowell, which runs three business incubators and a student entrepreneurship program, and the Deshpande Foundation, which supports sustainable, scalable social and economic impact through innovation and entrepreneurship, along with the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, which champions the work of entrepreneurs of all ages. The event’s aim is to empower campus leaders in their efforts to raise the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“It is truly an honor to receive this award. The Deshpande Foundation is an extraordinary organization supporting entrepreneurship education around the world. The foundation unequivocally understands the importance of entrepreneurship in the development of the world economy one entrepreneur at a time through education and support. As we strive towards greater inclusivity locally and worldwide, the Deshpande Foundation will continue to be a leader,” Welsh said. 

Photo of Perry Flynn

Perry Flynn (Communication Sciences and Disorders) received new funding from Phoenix Academy for the project “Speech Language Pathology Service Contract with Phoenix Academy.”

The purpose of this agreement is to provide speech and language therapy services to children in the Phoenix Academy who qualify for these services. The Speech/Language Pathologists at Phoenix Academy will:

1.  Report to the Principal or Executive Director of the Phoenix Academy;
2.  Conduct Speech Language Evaluations as appropriate;
3.  Schedule and hold IEP conferences with SLI primary and related service eligible students;
4.  Provide Speech-Language intervention for appropriately identified (and unidentified) students as appropriate through classroom and pull out  models of intervention; and
5.  Maintain Exceptional Children’s records in compliance with state of NC and federal regulations.

Students participate in a wood joinery workshop at the Blum House in Old Salem.

For three weeks in May, a group of eight UNC Greensboro students forged metals, split shingles, conducted paint analysis, and learned all things historic preservation. 

The annual historic preservation field school, led by Professor Emerita Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll, provides students the opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of historic preservation and architectural conservation. 

The course is designed for master’s students in history and interior architecture, as well as students completing the post-baccalaureate certificate program in historic preservation

A key characteristic of the field school is hands-on learning. Students learn the basics of woodworking, masonry, building, etc. through workshops with some of the best in the business. A grant from the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation helped fund the three-week experience. 

“The field school allows students the opportunity to apply what they’ve been learning in their seminars and classes,” said Leimenstoll. “The hands-on experience is key. It’s so hard to be a preservationist and not know how to talk to a craftsman or a contractor about what needs to happen.” 

The first week was spent at Old Salem. Students participated in a workshop at the Gunsmith Shop, forging and casting metals with Blake Stevenson and Ben Masterson. There was an all-day session on wood joinery at the Blum House. Students participated in a walking tour of brickwork throughout Old Salem, and then tried their hand at repointing brick mortar joints. 

During the second week, students worked in the East Wilson Historic District in Wilson, North Carolina. MFA student Monica T. Davis has been working to restore five homes in the district, once home to the largest population of working-class African Americans in the state. Under the guidance of restoration specialists from the State Preservation Office, the field school students worked on two of Davis’ homes throughout the week. They repaired windows, patched flooring, and replaced deteriorated clapboards. 

“There used to be 300 shotgun houses in the East Wilson Historic District, and now there are only 90 left,” said Gus Adams, a builder from Asheville, North Carolina, and a student in the certificate program. “Preserving those structures is really important. Without these homes, they may lose that designation.”

The final week of the field school included a gravestone restoration workshop at Second St. Philips Cemetery in Winston-Salem. Many enslaved people were buried at the site, and little is known about these individuals. Some of the graves have markers that simply say “Beloved.” 

“There is so much interest in learning the history and telling the story of African American cemeteries. Our students felt really privileged to be a part of this work,” said Leimenstoll. 

Students ended their time together with reflections and presentations on lessons learned. For many, the experience was critical to their professional development.

“It’s really important to learn how to think like a preservationist and to understand the mechanics of different parts of a building,” said Katie Lowe, a master’s student in the Museum Studies program. “We’ve been on Zoom this past year, so it’s been so good to actually get inside buildings and put our hands on stuff.”

In addition to hands-on experience, students get exposed to an important network of industry professionals. When they leave UNCG, they will have contacts in preservation across the state. Field school alumni have gone on to work in design firms, preservation consulting firms, local government, nonprofit organizations, and state historic preservation offices. 

The field school is also an important community engagement project. Since the field school’s launch in 2001, Leimenstoll has worked with partners across the state to find meaningful, impactful projects that help transform local communities. 

“We’ve always picked deserving, worthwhile projects that make the students feel like they are making a difference,” Leimenstoll said. “It’s not just about learning how to do something – it’s about applying that knowledge by working on a project for the good of the community.”

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications

Portrait of student holding clipboard in clinical setting
Aran Garnett-Deakin ’20 works on the iGrow project as a research assistant.

UNC Greensboro stands out for its commitment to undergraduate research. 

Students build close relationships with faculty and work alongside them in their labs, in the field, or in archives. 

It’s a transformative experience that opens up countless opportunities. Just ask Aran Garnett-Deakin. 

A 2020 human development and family studies graduate, Garnett-Deakin worked on multiple research projects in several labs throughout her undergraduate career. After her graduation last May, she was hired to work as a research assistant on some of the most important research projects taking place on campus. And now, she’s gearing up for a PhD in human development at Virginia Tech. 

Originally from Blacksburg, Virginia, Garnett-Deakin participated in research as a high school student, given her proximity to Virginia Tech’s campus. She landed at UNCG because of the reputation of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, as well as the focus on undergraduate research and the access to faculty. 

As a sophomore, she began working with Dr. Esther Leerkes on the Noise, Emotion, and Thinking (NET) Study, in which she helped examine the impact of infant cries on college women’s functioning. She prepped study materials, fitted participants with electroencephalogram caps and heart rate monitors, and assisted with data collection. 

Garnett-Deakin later worked with Leerkes on the Infant Growth and Development Study (iGrow), a project funded by the National Institutes of Health. iGrow follows approximately 300 pregnant women and their children for two years in an effort to identify the earliest predictors of risk for childhood obesity. Since graduation, she has served as a part-time research assistant for the project, helping to continue operations during the pandemic. 

“I do a lot of data collection and coding,” she said “I have a lot of face time with the participants – the moms and their babies. I also mentor undergraduates, which is really awesome.” 

“Aran has been an amazing asset to this study,” said Leerkes. “I’ve seen her grow in confidence, clarity of her interests, and in leadership, from being an undergraduate on our project to helping lead undergraduates the following year. I am certain she will thrive in graduate school and go on to be a successful researcher, teacher, and change agent.”

Garnett-Deakin also works alongside Dr. Jocelyn Smith Lee in the Centering Black Voices Lab, which explores the unequal burdens of trauma and grief in the lives of young Black men. She began work in the lab as a junior, and wrote her undergraduate thesis, “‘All I Want Out of Life is a Family’: Examining How Violence and Masculinity Informs Fathering for Young Black Men,” under the supervision of Smith Lee.

Now, Garnett-Deakin is assisting Smith Lee with her new Gates Foundation-funded research project, “Disrupting Dehumanizing Narratives of Black Men in Poverty.” The research team is working to equip young Black men in Baltimore with skills in ethnography and photography so they can create and share a more complete and nuanced narrative about their lives. 

“Undergraduate researchers are an instrumental part of our Centering Black Voices research team, and Aran has played an essential role from the beginning,” said Smith Lee. “Aran does not shy away from challenges. She is a brilliant thinker who is humble, teachable, and welcomes the opportunity to learn and to lead. She is a joy to mentor. Virginia Tech is gaining a treasure.”

Working on both projects has been perfect preparation for the PhD program. As a doctoral student, Garnett-Deakin will focus on telling the stories of Black families – and specifically Black fathers – in Appalachia and other rural areas.

“There’s this huge history of Black Appalachian families that is barely tapped into. I would like to start looking at family structures and find people who are willing to share about their family histories,” she says. 

Garnett-Deakin’s ultimate goal is to work as a university professor, engaging in both teaching and research. 

Her advice for fellow Spartans interested in undergraduate research?

“Email as many faculty as possible. Professors are really excited about their research. They want to give undergrads access to these experiences, and they want to help you develop skills for graduate school,” she said. “It’s OK to ask people for things and advocate for what you want. Everyone here really wants the best for you.”

To learn more about undergraduate research opportunities at UNCG, visit utlc.uncg.edu/ursco.

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications