The Colorado Association for Bilingual Education (CO-CABE) recently announced that it had recognized The University of Texas at El Paso’s Sandra Butvilofsky, Ph.D., as its 2020 Higher Education Educator of the Year.
The group honored Butvilofsky, associate professor of teacher education, during a virtual ceremony in October on Facebook. The University’s College of Education hired Butvilofsky this past summer. She had been an educator in Colorado for 25 years with the last 14 at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The honor recognizes educators for their contributions in the field of bilingual education in Colorado, particularly in the preparation of teachers in bilingual education and/or culturally and linguistically diverse education or a related field.
Butvilofsky’s research interest is the exploration of the potential of bilingualism and biliteracy development in bilingual learners, particularly Latino Spanish-English speaking children in grades Pre-K-5, using a holistic bilingual perspective.
The educator said that this award acknowledges collective efforts to promote high-quality bilingual program instruction for Latinx bilingual learners in Colorado. She added that she hoped teachers would use her research to serve their students better.
“The work I have done to support and build bilingual educators’ capacity to provide quality and effective bilingual and biliterate instruction brings me great satisfaction,” Butvilofsky said. “I see this award as a means to support ongoing efforts to ensure education is equitable for students learning English as an additional language, while also maintaining and developing their native/home language.”
Clifton Tanabe, Ph.D., dean of UTEP’s College of Education, congratulated Butvilofsky on her prestigious award.
“This is a wonderful recognition,” Tanabe said. “We are thrilled for her, and honored that she is part of the UTEP College of Education family.”
Lucinda Soltero-González, Ph.D., assistant professor of literacy education at the University of Colorado Denver and director of CO-CABE’s Educator and Advocate Awards Committee, said the group selected Butvilofsky because she has been an extremely influential force behind several programs that have greatly benefited bilingual students and educators in Colorado and across the nation.
“The committee was very impressed by her continuous support for bilingual teachers in developing as effective educators and advocates for their bilingual students and their families,” Soltero-González said. “Dr. Butvilofsky’s tireless advocacy for bilingualism and biliteracy is truly remarkable and will have a lasting positive impact on teachers, teacher candidates, and emerging bilingual students now and into the future.”
Author: Daniel Perez – UTEP Communications