By Jeff Murphy, May 18, 2021
Angela Danley, left, associate professor of education at the University of Central Missouri, and Sabreyna Reese, a senior psychology major who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in May, were recognized as recipients of the Learning to a Greater Degree Award for Spring 2021.
WARRENSBURG, MO – Honoring the excellent work of a student and a faculty member, the University of Central Missouri recently recognized Angela Danley, associate professor of elementary education, and Sabreyna Reese, a spring 2021 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, as recipients of Learning to a Greater Degree Awards (LTAGD).
Learning to a Greater Degree conveys the essence of UCM as an institution which promises students the opportunity to experience engaged learning, future-focused academics, a worldly perspective and a culture of service. Members of the UCM community who are nominated for LTAGD awards support these reasons to believe and give life to these promises. Individuals recognized are honored publicly by the Board of Governors and have their names added to a plaque displayed in the lobby of the Administration Building.
Susan Smedley, UCM vice president for integrated marketing and communications, introduced the spring 2021 award recipients, noting that Danley is a wonderful example of engaged learning, future-focused academics, and culture of service. She is a leader who has had a powerful impact on UCM’s students, faculty and staff.
When UCM’s public television station, KMOS-TV, and the College of Education partnered to create KMOS Classroom in summer 2020 to close the achievement gap with the students whose school year, due to COVID-19, was concluded early or transitioned online, she was integral to planning and execution. One of her nominators said she “jumped into the project with incredible enthusiasm and brought an expertise that was essential to the project.” She identified the student teachers and guided them through the process of creating the curriculum that spanned across multiple content areas and grade levels. This project engaged several UCM students, who were future teachers at the time, in an experience they would not have had otherwise. Her work recently received two national Public Media Awards by the National Educational Telecommunications Association.
Danley’s students have the utmost respect and trust for her, Smedley said. She is committed to nurturing students through classroom instruction. She regularly observes her students in their clinical placements and then helps students improve in areas where they feel less confident. She has a strong desire to help students not only be successful in their coursework, but to succeed and shine as exceptional classroom teachers. She believes in continuous improvement of students’ teaching and learning experiences and understands that her contributions to undergraduate students as emerging professionals, has a lasting impact on K-12 students as well.
Danley serves as the Elementary Education program coordinator and has served on many UCM committees at the department, college and university level including multiple Faculty Senate committees. She also serves several professional organizations and has proven her leadership abilities by serving as chair of many committees at different levels.
Smedley said Danley also has a true passion for culturally responsive teaching. She has conducted several research projects focused on the importance of student equity. She shares her work with students, colleagues, and the education world through lessons, presentations, and publications. Over the course of the last year, she has produced multiple publications, several with her undergraduate students. She often writes with peers, particularly assistant professors developing their dossier for promotion and tenure. She coaches them through the IRB (Institutional Review Board) and publication process.
Danley goes above and beyond to support students and colleagues. One of her nominators stated, “She takes learning to a greater degree because she believes education is the foundation of quality living and lifelong happiness.”
In introducing the student award recipient, Smedley said Reese “demonstrates engaged learning, worldly perspective and a culture of service.” Her nominator also noted that she “exemplifies the best of how we hope our students will embrace UCM's motto ‘Education for Service.’"
Reese’s commitment to a culture of service is impressive. She has worked for the past three summers with UCM's Central Summer Academy's seven-week residential summer bridge program for incoming freshmen as a community advisor, then a peer mentor, and finally as the coordinator. She has served as a community advisor in UCM’s residence halls, as an academic success coach for the Success Advising Center, as an embedded peer mentor for University Foundations and Enrollment Management, and as a peer mentor for TRIO Student Support Services.
Reese also served as a panelist in a session titled "Supporting Students through Advising, Coaching, and Mentoring" to a group of St. Louis Graduates students, and has co-presented at a regional conference for the Educational Opportunity Association to TRIO professionals. She is also a volunteer undergraduate research assistant in UCM's relaxation research laboratory.
Reese is the president of her Delta Sigma Theta chapter, a member of the League of Student Advocates, and has served as volunteer chair for both the Africana Studies Leadership Council and the Association of Black Collegians. She is also a recipient of the Sisters of Ujima Community Service Award.
While participating in many engaged learning opportunities, she increased her worldly perspective by studying abroad in Jamaica and, as a psychology major, she engaged in multiple projects in addition to her regular course work. She is a member of the Honors College. As a McNair Scholar, she designed and completed a research internship on "An Analysis of Minority Academic Achievement at the University of Central Missouri." Her paper was awarded third place in her McNair cohort and she presented this work at UCM's McNair Research Symposium and at a national McNair research conference. She attended the Virtual TRIO Policy Seminar where she spoke and answered questions to provide a student perspective during advocacy meetings with U.S. Congressional members and staff. She also attended the League of Student Advocates Conference where she spoke to Missouri legislators about issues impacting Missouri students regarding access to higher education.
Her nominator stated, “She is not simply working towards her own future by personally excelling in her academics and extracurriculars; she is also focused on helping to secure and strengthen resources for UCM's future students.”