Faculty Spotlights

Michelle Vaughan portrait
Michelle Vaughan
Assistant Professor


Doctor of Education, Florida Atlantic University, 2009
Major: Curriculum and Instruction
Master of Education, University of Florida, 2004
Major: Elementary Education
Bachelor of Education, University of Florida, 2003
Major Elementary Education


Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum, Culture, and Educational Inquiry


Michelle Vaughan, Ed.D. is an assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University. She teaches courses in curriculum and instruction, action research, and school reform. She received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the Department of Curriculum, Culture, and Educational Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University.

As a scholar, I define action research as a vehicle for change, a way to arm practitioners with data and give them the voice they need to engage in critical conversations with decision-makers. My work uses action research to focus on the intersection of teaching and researching, continually asking the question, ‘How do I improve my practice?’ As an action researcher, my practice and scholarship are inexplicitly linked to bolster my student’s experience in my courses as well as contribute pedagogical knowledge to the field of curriculum and instruction.


Excellence in eLearning Distinguished Achievement Award (2019), awarded by the Center for eLearning at Florida Atlantic University.

Innovation in Higher Education Award (2017), awarded by Florida Distance Learning Association.

Excellence in eLearning Faculty Award (2016), awarded by the Center for eLearning at Florida Atlantic University.


I have always been a teacher first. I believe it is necessary to have a deep understanding of your pedagogy, to comprehend the guiding values of your teaching thoroughly and how they manifest in relationships with students and the curriculum. When your values align with your instruction, students inevitably reap the rewards of excellent teaching. My work also argues that educational research should be conducted by and with teachers to capture the perspectives that are often missing in the research informing educational policy


1.Vaughan, M. (2019). Learning who I am: The exploration of my guiding values through a living theory methodology. Educational Journal of Living Theories, 12(1), 62-80.

2. Vaughan, M., Cavallaro, C., Baker, J., Celesti, C., Clevenger, C., Darling, H., Kasten, R., Laing, M., Marbach, R., Timar, A., & Wilder, K. (2019). Positioning teachers as researchers: Lessons in empowerment, change, and growth. Florida Educational Research Association Journal.

3. Vaughan. M., Boerum, C., & Whitehead, L. (2019). Action research in doctoral coursework: Perceptions of independent research experiences. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning , 13(1), 1-8.

4. Uribe, S. & Vaughan, M. (2017). Facilitating student learning in distance education: A  case study on the implementation of a multi-faceted feedback system. Distance Education, 38(3), 288-301. doi: 10.1080/01587919.2017.1369005 

5. Vaughan, M. & Uribe, S. (2017). Giving them what they want: Online feedback that works. College Teaching, 66(1). doi:10.1080/87567555.2017.1336611.

6. Dassa, L. & Vaughan, M. (2017). #classagain? How education faculty engage the disengaged college student. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 91(1), 42-45. doi:10.1080/00098655.2017.1342434

7. Vaughan, M., Baxley, T., & Kervin, C. (2017). Connecting the dots: A scaffolded model for undergraduate research. National Forum of Teacher Education Journal, 26(3), 1-12.

8. Vaughan, M. & Henderson, A. (2016). Exceptional educators: A collaborative training partnership for the inclusion of students with Down Syndrome. Support for Learning, 31(1), 46-58. doi: 10.1111/1467-9604.12113

9. Vaughan, M. & Beers, C. (2016). Using an exploratory professional development initiative to introduce iPads in the early childhood education classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(3), 321-331. doi: 10.1007/s10643-016-0772-3

10. Vaughan, M. & Burnaford, G. (2015). Action research in graduate teacher education: A review of the literature 2000-2015. Educational Action Research, 24(2), 280-299. doi:10.1080/09650792.2015.1062408

11. Vaughan, M., Beers, C. & Burnaford, G. (2015). The Impact of iPads on teacher educator practice: A collaborative professional development initiative. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 11(1), 21-34.

12. Vaughan, M. (2014). Flipping the learning: An investigation into the use of the flipped classroom model in an introductory teaching course. Education Research and Perspectives, 41(1), 25-41.

Professor Yash Bagwangi portrait
Associate Professor


Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.Ed. in Special Education from Central Oklahoma University
B.S. in Journalism from University of Kansas
B.A. in Psychology from University of Kansas


Associate Professor and the department of Curriculum, Culture and Educational Inquiry Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs


The complex associations among families and wider social systems that impact children’s health, development, and education.
Professional development of educators in early childhood and special education.
Early childhood environmental education, investigating strategies and policies that impact the well-being of all.


Nietzel Distinguished Faculty Award from the University of Kentucky. Obligations include serving on dissertation committees and providing public lectures in the Spring 2019 semester. He plans to deliver lectures relating to rethinking early childhood education by integrating more place-based and experiential learning.
Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). The award is given to individuals who exemplify national leadership in the field of environmental education (EE).


2019 – International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education, Volume 6, No. 2: Addressing Policy, Practice, and Research That Matters
2018 – Use of Children’s Literature to Support an Emerging Curriculum Model of Education for Sustainable Development for Young Learners
2015 – Early Childhood Environmental Education Rating Scale



Ed.D., Higher Education Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dissertation: “The Association between Advanced Degrees in Higher Education and the Career Paths of the Male and Female Graduates from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1980-1993.”
M.S., Athletic Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.S., summa cum laude, Physical Education Teaching (K-12), Illinois State University, Normal


Associate Professor & Coordinator, Higher Education Leadership Master’s Degree Program, Department of Educational Leadership & Research Methodology, Florida Atlantic University
Founder, Office of Appreciative Education, Department of Educational Leadership & Research Methodology, Florida Atlantic University


Appreciative Advising, Appreciative Education, and Appreciative Administration



Virginia N. Gordon Award for Excellence in the Field of Advising, NACADA: The Global Community for Advising – given to the person who “has made a significant national and/or international impact on the profession of academic advising through research, publications, and/or presentations at the national and/or international level, leadership in the field of advising, and commitment to the importance of academic advising at the national and/or international level” - Oct 2017

National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Outstanding Advising Administrator Award – 2005

National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Graduate Scholarship Awardee – 1994


FAU Faculty Partner of the Year to the Division of Student Affairs Award – April 2017

FAU Chi Sigma Alpha Honor Society Advisor of the Year Award – April 2016

FAU Graduate Academic Advisor of the Year by the FAU Graduate and Professional Student Association – Oct 2015

Lori Dassa
Lori Dassa, ED.D.
College Of Education


College of Education


Professor and coordinator for Effective Teaching Practices.


Dr. Dassa continues to further her research on quality teacher prep programs and teacher retention.


Dr. Dassa has published several articles and studies, and developed as well as runs the Honors in the Elementary Education major. She has built partnerships with both Broward and Palm Beach County school principals and helped the COE department of Teaching and Learning coordinate the very important practicum courses. Dr. Dassa is the author of the second edition book, So Now What? New Elementary Teacher Survival Guide.