This fall is my seventh as dean of the School of Education & Human Development. I feel truly lucky to be leading such a remarkable, talented and dedicated faculty and staff and to be part of such a dynamic, growing and changing university. Together, we have introduced many new degree programs with graduate and undergraduate options, developed our continuing and professional learning center, continued our highly regarded research and scholarship, and designed many of our face-to-face program offerings to include an online option. We are dedicated to the success of each and all of our students.
Our work can be found throughout the Front Range and across the state of Colorado, including in rural contexts. The defining quality of our work is that it is “engaged and partnered.” What does this mean?
Our engaged and partnered faculty spend significant time with colleagues in school districts and communities where together they identify problems of practice that become research agendas and develop certificate and graduate programs that are customized, relevant and impactful. For example, our EdD Leadership for Equity students work in teams with student, faculty and district colleagues to address authentic and meaningful research questions generated by the district and to provide short-cycle quick turnaround recommendations using improvement science methods. Dr. Shannon Hagerman, executive director of our continuing and professional learning center, also partners with district leaders to learn the professional needs of a particular district in order to design program offerings for their context. Our teacher preparation program is a residency experience, with district partners collaborating with our faculty to prepare the next generation of teachers.
Being engaged and partnered assures that we are investing our time and resources on important and relevant issues and that our programs are preparing educators and leaders with insight into and understanding of today’s schools and communities. Colorado is a state made up of diverse communities, and our students develop their skills and knowledge in these contexts alongside their faculty mentors.
If you visit the Lawrence Street Center, you might not find the faculty in their offices. Instead, you might find Dr. Bryn Harris conducting developmental assessments in Denver Public Schools as a bilingual school psychologist, or Dr. Scott McLeod leading workshops in Jeffco on future-ready schools, or Dr. Kent Seidel and Dr. Julie O’Brian and their students evaluating the social emotional learning curriculum in Jeffco and Boulder Valley Schools. If you visit schools in Adams 14, you might find Dr. Lucinda Soltero-Gonzáles working with teachers to support the writing development of dual language learners. In Aurora, Dr. Ron Tzur and his PhD students might be conducting research on the best way to support young children learning fractions. If you want to meet with me, we will have to have an appointment, because otherwise I might be at a board meeting for the Denver Preschool Program or at the Z Place in Green Valley Ranch in a meeting of the early childhood innovators group.