From the Desk of the Dean - July 2019

Fresh from watching the victorious USA World Cup team, I am reminded of a quote from Coach Jill Ellis, the first coach to win the biggest prize in women’s football twice, and just one of two coaches to ever win two World Cup titles …. “… everything I’ve done up to this point in the job has been a learning experience for the future.” (https://www.coachesvoice.com/jill-ellis-united-states-soccer/). In no way do I compare myself to this amazing leader. Instead, I take inspiration and comfort in the certainty that preparation and experience comprise the kind of education that engenders success. The process of looking back at everything we have done, in order to learn how to shape the future is the spirit of our theme for the upcoming 90th anniversary of the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) – “Looking Back. Moving Forward.” We will be acknowledging our past while celebrating our milestone – and examining what will be critical areas of focus as we move forward to our 100th year. Persistence over time is possible by adapting to change. One of the changes in the landscape of higher education is the increasing awareness that college professors must approach teaching with the same rigor and excellence that they conduct research. It is often true, however, that Ph.D. programs do not teach students how to teach, nor expose them to the copious literature on the science of learning. I am thrilled that the School of Education and Human Development is leading a University-wide, collaborative effort to offer the first new faculty teaching academy this fall to all professors starting their careers at UM. Persistence is also the theme of multiple efforts across campus, as we seek new and innovative ways to help students persist through college – paying close attention to their well-being as well as their academic success. This fall the SEHD is one of two academic units offering a new 1-credit course for first year majors; designed to provide information about resources, skills to navigate college successfully, and the opportunity to build a sense of community among our most valuable, but sometimes most vulnerable constituents – our students. Our expertise in teaching and learning, and in physical and psychological well-being, are perfect for helping our institution change to meet the current needs of faculty and students – allowing the SEHD to effectively advance to 100 years. We are putting the U in edUcation!

Dean Laura Kohn-Wood