School of Education News


PhD Student Antoinette Banks Wins $1 Million Black Ambition Prize

Award is for parent-facing app that uses predictive AI to optimize IEP plans

Black Ambition CEO Felecia Hatcher, Leonard Creer, Antoinette Banks and Pharrell Williams pose at the Black Ambition event holding a giant facsimile check for $1 millionSchool of Education PhD student Antoinette Banks, BS ’22, has won the Pharrell Williams Black Ambition grand prize of $1 million for Expert IEP, her parent-facing app that uses predictive AI to optimize existing individualized education plans for children diagnosed with disabilities. Black Ambition is a nonprofit initiative dedicated to closing the opportunity and wealth gap by empowering Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs.


Nancy Tseng appointed Associate Professor of Teaching in Education

Portrait of Nancy TsengDr. Nancy Tseng, formerly a Lecturer/Supervisor in the School of Education’s Multiple Subject Credential Program, has been appointed Associate Professor of Teaching in Education as of July 2023. She will continue to serve as the coordinator of the School’s Mandarin Bilingual Authorization Program. “I’m excited that in this new role, I can continue to focus centrally on the teaching and mentoring of teaching credential candidates and MA students,” she said.


Cynthia Carter Ching Appointed Interim Dean

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan has appointed Cynthia Carter Ching to serve as interim dean for the School of Education, effective July 1, 2023. Ching will lead the school until the new dean begins.

“While the search is taking longer than we had hoped, we are steadfast in our commitment to find the right leader for our outstanding School of Education,” Croughan said. “I am very grateful to Cynthia for stepping into this vital leadership position. Her depth of experience and passion for education will keep the school moving in the right direction.”

Ching, associate dean for academic programs in the School of Education since 2016, joined UC Davis in 2007. She also served as interim vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education from 2020 to 2022. An interim associate dean will be appointed in August to fulfill Ching’s current duties.

Ching holds two University of California degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in psychology (with an emphasis in cognitive science) from UC Irvine and a Ph.D. in education (Department of Psychological Studies in Education) from UCLA. She began her faculty career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, spending six years in that role before coming to UC Davis.

Ching’s research is in the area of educational technology. She examines the intersection of technology, learning, collaboration, and identity, investigating how children, youth, and adults represent and negotiate aspects of themselves via technology in classrooms, in online environments, and in games.

“The School of Education has greatly benefited from Dr. Ching’s steady leadership as associate dean, her research expertise in issues relating to the use of technology in learning, her deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and her unfailing advocacy for students,” said Lindstrom. “I know she will serve the school very well in this time of transition.”


Alicia Rusoja Joins School of Education Faculty

Dr. Alicia Rusoja joined the School of Education faculty as an assistant professor in July 2022. She studies the literacy, teaching and learning practices of Latinx immigrants organizing for their own and others’ human rights. Among other research projects, Rusoja is in the second year of a five-year study on the impact of COVID-19 on the educational, literacy and organizing practices of Latinx immigrants in South Philadelphia.


Yianella Blanco Joins School of Education Faculty

Dr. Yianella Blanco joined the faculty of the School of Education as an assistant professor in July 2022 in the language, literacy and culture emphasis area. Blanco earned her bachelor’s degree in History at University of Massachusetts–Amherst and her two master’s degrees at Long Island University–Brooklyn and Teachers College, Columbia University, before returning to Columbia for her PhD in social studies education.

Portrait of Marsha Gurney-Speck against a blue sky with a palm tree in the background

Education Leader and Alumna Launches Teacher Education Fund

The fund will support investments in the School’s K-12 teacher education programing

In her 44-year career in K-12 and university education, Marsha Gurney-Speck, Ed.D. (Cred., ’69) has always believed that education is a key to success and citizenship. 

Passionate about learning and quality education, she served as a teacher, assistant principal, and high school principal. As an assistant superintendent of schools and later professor of educational leadership at San Jose State, she valued teacher development, as well as leadership reviewing and assessing programs to ensure they were serving each child.

Upward Bound Sacramento-Solano students meet on the UC Davis campus during their summer residence program.

UC Davis Upward Bound Awarded Five Grants

Program is administered by the School’s REEd Center

The School of Education’s REEd Center has received five federal Upward Bound grants totaling more than $8.7 million to continue serving 348 high school students in Sacramento, Solano, Shasta and Siskiyou counties over the next five years.

“The students in our Upward Bound programs have so much promise and untapped potential, but their opportunities might have been limited by their socioeconomic status,” said Car Mun Kok, PhD, Director of College Opportunity Programs for the UC Davis School of Education.

graphic stating that the School of Education is ranked 32nd in the nation

School of Education Ranks 32nd in Nation

U.S. News & World Report ranks the School in top 12%

The UC Davis School of Education is ranked 32nd in the nation for 2023 out of 274 education schools, according to rankings released by U.S. News & World Report.

This year’s ranking is up five from last year’s placement, and puts the School of Education into the top 12% of all schools and among the top 22 public schools of education in the country.


EDU 100 Students Team with Students in Mexico for Expanded Learning Experience

Portrait of Sophia MattinglyIn one of the most popular classes on campus, undergraduates spend most of their time learning and thinking about learning. EDU 100 is the foundational class for the education minor, the largest minor at UC Davis. In it, students explore access and the experiences of learners, and many go on to careers in education and education policy. 

Post Danny C. Martinez
Portrait of Danny C. Martinez

Danny C. Martinez Named Chancellor’s Fellow

Associate professor and noted scholar of Black and Latinx language and literacy practices Danny C. Martinez joined a select cohort of faculty as a 2021-22 Chancellor’s Fellow.

The Chancellor’s Fellow program awards $25,000 in funding to outstanding faculty who are helping to solve complex and pressing problems.


Educational Talent Search Receives $4.8 Million in New Grants

The School of Education’s REEd Center has received five federal Educational Talent Search (ETS) grants totaling $4.8 million over the next five years to support the continued and expanded work of ETS programs in Sacramento, Solano, Yolo and Shasta counties. The programs collectively serve 2,700 students in grades 6–12 who have academic potential, want to continue their education beyond high school, and need extra support and information to reach their goals.

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Dedication of the PowerSchool and Microsoft Digital Learning Lab

On October 6, 2021, the School of Education hosted Chancellor Gary S. May, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan, Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations Shaun Keister, our Board of Advisors and guests from PowerSchool at a reception to dedicate the new PowerSchool and Microsoft Digital Learning Lab.

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