From the Desk of the Dean – School of Education & Human Development






Message from the Dean of the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD)

By Laura Kohn-Wood


Greetings from the Desk of the Dean!

I am glad to inaugurate the monthly “Engage” newsletter, designed to communicate the news, events and people of the SEHD! Having come to the SEHD 9.5 years ago to help build new training program and, serving as a professor, program director, and department chair I have enjoyed the start of this year in my new role as Dean. I truly believe that with the support of alumni, faculty, staff and students - together we can make our wonderful school an even better place to engage in creating educational, psychological and physical transformations that impact individuals, organizations and communities. As Dean, my goal is to support the opportunities we have to optimize varied expertise, develop interdisciplinary research questions that solve complex social and human problems, and develop interventions that reduce inequity. Now that the fall term is underway I would like to highlight our activities and plans to shape new initiatives.

  1. As part of our School-wide strategic planning process I held a series of 10 lunch and dinner discussions for faculty and staff. Next up: similar discussions with alumni and students. These sessions utilize a set of questions designed to elucidate our strengths and challenges. This “insider” knowledge will help us determine the next steps of the phenomenal growth we have enjoyed.
  2. I asked a couple of ‘experts’ folks from around the country, academic leaders with significant experience in schools of education, to provide a general assessment of our areas of growth as well as ideas for improvement. We need to gather “outsider” expertise to help us gain an objective view of our school and guide us toward positive progression in areas that make sense.

Related to progression, I am pleased to announce the following organizational appointments:

  • Dr. Soyeon Ahn is the new Chair of the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies
  • Dr. Batya Elbaum is serving as the Acting Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning
  • Dr. Kevin Jacobs is the new Associate Dean of Research
  • Dr. Gigi Gilbert, recently retired MDPS educational leader, has joined us in the School as a Scholar in Residence for Schools, Communities and Diversity.
  • Professor Winston Warrior from UM Communications and the School of Communications is working with us on a limited basis to help with Strategic Communications, Marketing and Planning
  • Ms. Maria Torres has started as the new Executive Assistant to the Dean

In addition, I am thrilled to introduce our new faculty appointments:

In the Department of Teaching and Learning, we welcome Professors Alissa Blair and Matthew Deroo. In the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, we welcome Professors Brian Mann, Nadine Mikati and Claire Zovko. And in the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, we welcome Professor Jue Wang. Please read about these exciting new faculty members in upcoming communication!

While I still have a great deal to learn in my new position, I am extraordinarily excited about what the future is bringing for the School of Education and Human Development, starting with this Fall term. As we finish out the first semester of the 2018-2019 academic year I wish you all the best, and I welcome your optimism for our ongoing growth and transformation.

Take Care,