Press Releases & Statements

AACTE to Present Outstanding Dissertation Award to Amanda R. Morales of Kansas State University

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(Feb. 18, 2013, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) will present Amanda R. Morales with its 2013 Outstanding Dissertation Award. Morales was selected for her study of factors of resiliency, persistence and racial uplift among nontraditional, Latina, English language learners in teacher education. The award, which recognizes excellence in doctoral dissertation research that contributes to the knowledge base of educator preparation or of teaching and learning with implications for educator preparation, will be presented March 2 at AACTE's 65th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Morales is one of two recipients of the award for 2013.

Morales' dissertation, Factors That Foster Latina, English Language Learner, Nontraditional Student Resilience in Higher Education and Their Persistence in Teacher Education, grew out of her work with a team of educators from the College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and K-12 schools to design and implement a distance-based, nontraditional teacher education program for Latina English language learners in the southwest region of the state. She served as an adviser, instructor and mentor for two cohorts of candidates who completed this innovative program, graduating over 30 students who are now serving as ESL-endorsed elementary teachers to meet the needs of students in this highly diverse region of Kansas.

"Amanda's dissertation has the potential to make significant contributions to the strategies we use to recruit, advise and retain diverse students in teacher education," said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education at Kansas State University. "Through both her scholarship and teaching, I believe she will make an impact on higher education and provide enhanced educational opportunities for multitudes of future students in our educational system. We are honored to have Dr. Morales represent the K-State College of Education by receiving this prestigious award."

AACTE's Committee on Research and Dissemination, which reviewed submissions for the dissertation award, also praised Morales' effort.

"Her critical analysis deepened our understanding of the internal characteristics and external factors that impact nontraditional, Latina, English language learners' desire to pursue, and ability to persist in, teacher education," said Jennie Whitcomb, chair of AACTE's committee and associate dean of teacher education at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "She has documented effective strategies to overcome barriers to create a more just and equitable teacher education program and to develop a more diverse pool of teaching candidates." Morales completed her dissertation in 2011 under the advisement of Dr. Margaret Gail Shroyer. She is now employed at Kansas State University as an assistant professor, diversity coordinator and teaching & learning certificate coordinator.

For more information on AACTE's 2013 award winners, visit


AACTE: Serving Learners
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE's reach and influence fuels its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.


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