The University of Alabama College of Education 2020 Alumni Award Recipients

Note. These should have been awarded during the fall of 2020, but pandemic. They were recognized with the 2021 award winners in the fall of 2021.

Harold L. Bishop Awards for Leaders

Dr. Roland Mitchell

Dr. Roland Mitchell

When reflecting on what qualities make a leader, Dr. Mitchell is adept in turning a vision into a reality. Dr. Mitchell started his career as assistant professor at Louisiana State University in 2006. Since completing his Ph.D. at The University of Alabama in 2005, Roland has distinguished himself as a leader in the field of higher education.

Since 2018, he has served as the Interim Dean of the College of Human Sciences and Education (CHSE) which includes the School of Education, School of Kinesiology, School of Leadership and Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, School of Library and Information Science, School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School (K-12), and the LSU Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool. His prior leadership experiences at LSU helped prepare him to step into his current position. These included Associate Dean of Research Engagement and Graduate Studies, Associate Dean for Research and Academic Services, Associate Director of the School of Education, and Program Leader for LSU’s High Education program. He currently oversees five different schools, a K–12 student body and staff, and preschool including a dynamic set of faculty, staff, and students with wide range of expertise and needs.

In addition, his leadership also extends to his scholarship addressing issues of race in higher education and other contexts. He founded the Louisiana Summit on African American Male Educational Success, which is focused on offering strategies for improving outcomes for African American males. What was originally a Louisiana-based initiative has now gained momentum nation-wide and Dr. Mitchell has been asked to speak and share his expertise at university campuses across the country.

He is the co-editor of The Crisis of Campus Sexual Violence, which was awarded an Outstanding Academic Titles award and highlighted on the Top 25 Favorites list of the Choice editors. He serves on the advisory board for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, the associate board for the Campus Federal Credit Union, and for his ongoing service at meeting the needs of underrepresented populations in education, Roland has been awarded the David A. Kahn Award for Exemplary Service by the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition. 

What Dr. Mitchell’s CV does not reveal so readily is his enthusiasm and passion for all the stakeholders within the College. He is approachable to all students and works hard across the LSU campus to advocate for his faculty, staff, and student body. Most importantly, Dr. Mitchell is remarkable individual and this comes through in all aspects of his work.

James McLean Excellence in Education Award

Ms. Pamela Vickers

Pamela Vickers

Pamela Copeland Vickers’ resume only captures small snapshots of the many contributions she has made to several school systems making her the gold standard of how educators have the capacity to positively impact our world. She has set the bar high, and all professionals would do well to learn from and follow her example. Mrs. Vickers has been an innovator and an advocate for students and schools for many years.

Mrs. Vickers has been the College and Career Counselor for Thompson High School (THS) in the Alabaster City Schools from 2013 to the present. In those six years, ACT Aspire proficiency rose from 43% to 60% in math and from 39% to 45% in reading. She was a facilitator of intervention programs for the Aspire. She also brought in ACT training experts for both students and instructors, and from 2015 to 2018, ACT scores increased 1.4 average points, and is well above the state average.  Since she started, the graduation rate has increased from 82.74% to an impressive 97%. She works closely with all prospective graduates to not only graduate with the highest honors possible, but to provide avenues for them to be successful post-graduation through college entrance, scholarships, vocational training opportunities, and military connections. She was selected by College Board in the Counselor Recognition Program; she is the only recipient in the state of Alabama for this prestigious accomplishment.

Among her many other responsibilities, she has promoted and is the liaison for the dual enrollment program in partnership with Jefferson State College. Under her leadership, both our AP and dual enrollment classes have dramatically increased. THS has gone from 440 AP students to 1,442 students enrolled (a 327% increase), and from just 15 students enrolled in dual enrollment courses to a staggering 251 as of last year (a 1,673% increase). The aforementioned accomplishments are astounding, but the area where Mrs. Vickers really shines is in helping students with scholarship and career opportunities. The year she started at THS, the graduating class of 450 earned a combined total of $4 million. The class of 2019 (500 students) earned a combined $25.5 million!

In her tenure, graduates who attend 2-year, 4-year, and technical colleges have increased 24% to an impressive 81%.with an additional 3% joining the military. She is also a National Honor Society Advisor, and she sponsors all senior activities. She has implemented many opportunities to celebrate this special time for graduates and their families. She hosts a senior honors night where all seniors are recognized for scholarships and other awards they have won. She also instituted our annual “Parade of Graduates” where seniors walk through all schools in our system in their caps and gowns. Vickers also schedules and helps our athletic director (where sports are involved) with all of our college signing ceremonies.

Vickers epitomizes going above and beyond for the children of our future. Everything she has a hand in is always beautiful, proficient, and enhances the education experience for all students, families, and the community. She is without a doubt an irreplaceable member of the Thompson family.

Young Alumni Award

Dr. Khadeidra Billingsley

Dr. Khadeidra N. Billingsley

Dr. Khadeidra Billingsley is an exceptional literacy educator and scholar dedicated to research into student writer identities.

Dr. Billingsley graduated with her master’s degree in educational psychology from The University of Alabama and since then, she has been established a promising future for herself in education as an adjunct instructor at Birmingham-Southern College.  Billingsley is already a gifted teacher who has won several teaching awards, including the Outstanding Teaching by a Doctoral Student and Carolyn P. Handa Teaching Award for Innovation and Excellence.

Last year, she was recognized and honored on a national level for her exemplary pedagogical practices as a 2020 recipient of the Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award by the National Council of Teachers of English. Khadeidra’s commitment to prompting equity, diversity, and inclusion in her classroom makes her a stand-out teacher. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Khadeidra co-founded the Teachers of Color Caucus, a teaching support and professional development group for early career educators of color.

She has organized inaugural events for her department including the “Night of Analog” where students can come and share some of their class compositions in a coffee house-style reading with members of the school community. Not only does her care exude among her students, but also over her fellow peer teachers.