UCO Professor Named a 2019 DaVinci Fellow

A University of Central Oklahoma education professor has been selected as a 2019 DaVinci Fellow by the Oklahoma DaVinci Institute for her work with recruiting students to UCO’s educator preparation program and promoting the teaching profession in general.

As a recipient, Susan Scott, professor in the Department of Educational Sciences, Foundations and Research in the College of Education and Professional Studies, has been awarded $1,000 that goes toward any creative project Scott chooses.

The DaVinci Institute Board of Directors selects DaVinci scholars based on creativity, broadly defined, among Oklahoma’s higher education faculty.

Through Scott’s recruitment work, she began the Perspective Teachers Academy at UCO, which has allowed her to work with over 1,000 students. The academy allows Scott to invite teachers from all over the state to come to campus for a day and learn about the educator preparation program.

“I was looking back on my documented records, and I have figured out that I have probably served over 3,000 students through either the Perspective Teachers Academy or what I call my Teacher Leader Academy where I bring high school kids to campus and they learn about how to read a degree sheet,” Scott said.

Scott invites high school students to campus for the Teacher Leader Academy to learn about what it means to go to college, what it costs and that it’s not a privilege, but something students need to work toward.

“What I like to do is have them come to this (Teacher Learning Academy) so that they are more prepared for the Perspective Teacher Academy,” Scott said.

For both the Perspective Teachers Academy and Teacher Leader Academy, Scott has created curriculum and materials that she provides attendees with to help them in their career and, in the case of the Teacher Leader Academy, to help them prepare for college. Scott has been working on both of these academies officially since 2004 and unofficially since 1999.

One of the materials that Scott provides attendees at the Perspective Teachers Academy is a booklet of resources for students that are making lesson plans, to help them think critically and creatively. Scott said this is the kind of creative product that she would spend the awarded $1,000 on, but she is currently unsure as to what specifically.

“It will be something in the Perspective Teacher Academy,” Scott said. “So, it would be something like [the lesson plan booklet] that could pay it forward. That’s what I would do with my $1,000, it will be something that I can put in the hands of future teachers to touch the lives of their students.”

James Machell, CEPS dean nominated Scott to be selected as a DaVinci Fellow.

“I was very pleased to nominate Dr. Susan Scott for a DaVinci Fellow Award this year,” Machell said. “Dr. Scott has a great passion for teaching and the teaching profession. Her passion, energy and hard work inspire many of us in the College of Education and Professional Studies and across campus and the state and region.”

Along with recruiting and promoting, Scott also mentors students and helps students earn the DaVinci Scholar Award through the Oklahoma DaVinci Institute. Scott has been mentoring and has had students win the award since 2011. This year, Mary Pease, a student at UCO in CEPS, won the scholar award after mentoring with Scott.

“This is what I have done for years, this is one thing I have done, this is not what won me the award, but this is something I do within the DaVinci, which I think is pretty significant because I love mentoring these students,” Scott said.

In emails, assessments and everyday life Scott shares her personal philosophy with students and faculty that teachers save lives every day.

“I really believe that we do save lives, so I think this is important be-cause it helps people like me and other professors to realize that we’re doing good,” Scott said.

By sharing this philosophy, Scott said, all of a sudden she starts seeing students realize they can save a life and they start to see their purpose a little more differently.

According to a recent report from the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education, over the last six years, UCO has produced the largest amount of new teachers out of all state teacher preparation programs, at 16.1 percent.

“I love the DaVinci Institute and appreciate their support of future teachers through the DaVinci Scholar program and for their support of professors who are making a difference in the lives of students and our future as a society,” Scott said. “Thank you Dr. Jim Machell for my nomination and those who have helped me recruit aspiring teachers. I truly believe teachers save lives every day.”

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