Thursday, October 5, 2023

Welcome to our new faculty bringing decades of expertise, cutting-edge research, and innovative teaching to our community.

Candyce Briggs
Visiting Assistant Professor
School Psychology

Candyce Briggs (EDS '10, PhD '12) has more than 14 years of experience working with youth and families in diverse settings, which include residential treatment centers, inpatient hospitals, Pre-K-12 schools, forensic treatment facilities, and homeschool communities. Her research interests lie in best practices in assessment and intervention for Black/African-American students, recruitment and retention of culturally diverse students in gifted education programs, social-emotional and behavioral outcomes using holistic wellness strategies, and improving school and community partnerships to support and enhance student learning and engagement. Briggs is a passionate advocate for equity in education and mental health, aiming to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for marginalized communities.

Jennifer Collins
Visiting Associate Professor
Elementary Education

Jennifer Collins (BA '89) has worked in K-12 and graduate education in North Carolina, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Virginia for more than two decades. Her research interests include the development of place-based and rurally-responsive curricula and the impact of short-term study abroad experiences on pre-service teacher’s understanding of the world around them. She is passionate about mitigating barriers in higher education for rural and first-generation future teachers and has led experiences for students that expose them to broader and more diverse schooling contexts.

Liz Corson
Clinical Assistant Professor
Elementary Education

As a career public education teacher in and around New Orleans and Philadelphia, Liz Corson’s teaching and research center around the power and necessity of community building – within the classroom, with families, and with colleagues.  Taking a critical literacy lens on this work – across urban and suburban schools and with elementary school students and college learners – she considers students' cultural knowledge as essential assets in their learning. In addition, the National Writing Project has shaped Corson’s practice after participating in both the Greater New Orleans Writing Project and the West Chester Writing Project in Pennsylvania.

Yung-Wei “Dennis” Lin
Associate Professor
Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Yung-Wei Dennis Lin has 12 years of experience as a counselor educator and counseling researcher in both rural and urban areas.  Before joining Iowa, he served as a faculty member at the University of Maine starting in 2011, and then at New Jersey City University in 2015. He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Counseling and Development, the flagship journal of American Counseling Association. His research interests include play therapy with young children, filial parenting therapy, and suicide prevention/intervention training.

Pratigya “Christy” Marhatta
Visiting Assistant Professor
Elementary Education

Pratigya “Christy” Marhatta is a visiting assistant professor of Elementary Education. Marhatta worked as an elementary school teacher and adjunct professor in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her research focuses on supporting pre-service and in-service teachers in creating equitable learning environments in elementary spaces. In particular, she examines how critical pedagogy and culturally sustaining pedagogies can be incorporated into the primary classroom. In a parallel line of scholarship, she also looks at the educational experiences of students from recently resettled backgrounds.

Lisa Mellecker
Visiting Instructor
Elementary Education

Lisa Mellecker (BA '11, IED '11) is returning to the University of Iowa this fall after graduating with a degree in Elementary Education in 2011. In that time, she has worked in both K-12 and higher education, including nine years with the Iowa City Community School District. She is a strong advocate for the future of the teaching profession and hopes to bring her passion for equitable and inclusive teaching practices, especially within mathematics instruction, to her work with pre-service teachers.

Buffy Quintero
Visiting Instructor
Art Education

Buffy Quintero (IED '00, MA '21) has been working in the education field for over two decades, and as an art educator for the Iowa City Community School District for the past 10 years. Quintero has teaching experience at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Her arts-based research focuses on community building and social justice. In addition to her teaching expertise, Quintero is an experienced puppeteer. Prior to teaching, she served as the outreach coordinator for University of Iowa International Programs.

Brooke Strahn-Koller
Clinical Associate Professor
Director of the Educational Doctorate Program – Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

Brooke Strahn-Koller (PhD ’12), an alumna of the EPLS Department, has devoted over 20 years to academia and various administrative capacities within higher education. Her most recent role was associate vice president of academic affairs at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. Prior to that, Strahn-Koller served as executive dean, dean, and associate professor of sociology at Kirkwood, with a primary commitment to supporting first-generation college students and community college transfer students.  Over the past decade, her principal focus has shifted toward championing fair policies and practices while nurturing leaders in post-secondary education. She says her new role as the EdD director is an opportunity to further concentrate on her favorite aspect of her time in administration, developing current and future leaders.

Christine Zabala-Eisshofer
Visiting Assistant Professor
Higher Education and Student Affairs

Christine Zabala-Eisshofer began her career in higher education through university writing centers and by teaching freshman composition courses. Her research and teaching centers on queer pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning in undergraduate classrooms, the framing and impacts of curricular diversity initiatives, and critical disability studies in adult and higher education.

Leah Zimmermann
Clinical Assistant Professor
Special Education

Leah Zimmermann (BA '11, PhD '22) has devoted her career to improving the literacy abilities of K-12 students. She has worked in K-12 and higher education for more than a decade in Washington, D.C., Iowa, and Illinois. Zimmerman served as a middle school teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach. At Iowa, she teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in providing instruction for students with disabilities. Her research focuses on effective reading interventions for students with, or at-risk, for reading disabilities and cognitive processes that underpin reading. Prior to joining Iowa, she was an assistant professor of education at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.

See more from the 2022-23 Annual Report.