Message from the Dean

I hope everyone was able to attend our opening Centennial event with The New York Times columnist David Brooks earlier this month, because it was an absolutely wonderful way to […]


November 20, 2006



I hope everyone was able to attend our opening Centennial event with The New York Times columnist David Brooks earlier this month, because it was an absolutely wonderful way to begin our celebration. Our speaker was everything we hoped he would be – funny, charming and very engaged with the panelists and audience – and President Machen began the evening by reciting many of the College’s accomplishments in the first 100 years. The audience turnout was great, with more than 300 people in attendance. If you did miss this event, you can view photos on the COE Intranet at We also hosted our first Fien lecturer, Dr. Robert Jimenez, from Vanderbilt University, and we will be hosting Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings from the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday, Feb. 17. Please check the calendar listing that is sent out biweekly by Events Coordinator Jodi Mount, or watch for details on the Web site or the coE-News.

In last month’s column, I provided an update on the activities of three of the Strategic Task Forces: research, outreach scholarship, and faculty/student, recruitment, retention, and professional development. In this column, I describe some of the initiatives that are either under way or in the planning stages for curriculum and program development. One important point to note is that many of these initiatives began through faculty efforts, as they should. The role of my office, and other supporting offices, is to facilitate these efforts by providing resources to bring the ideas to fruition, but the best ideas are still generated by faculty (and students in some cases) since they constitute the heart of the educational enterprise.

Those of you involved in teacher education already know that the State Board of Education has approved several sweeping rule changes that will make it considerably easier to develop new programs for teacher preparation. One idea that is already well under way is adding an international component to the education minor. Theresa Vernetson is heading up this initiative, and she has heard from about 20 faculty who would like to be involved. Anyone else who wants to learn more about this initiative should contact Dr. Vernetson.

A second initiative is focused on developing new models for leadership preparation. This is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Educational Administration and Policy and Special Education. Already, two school districts have expressed interest, and we expect more to be added as the word spreads. The new job-embedded master’s degree program that is a joint collaboration between the School of Teaching and Learning and the Lastinger Center for Learning was just launched this spring, and already it is taking off faster than we predicted. At present, it is focused on teachers’ professional development, but we expect to add a leadership component fairly soon, perhaps by this summer.

A third initiative that is still in the planning stages is a new program for preparing math/science teachers in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences. This program has the potential to increase UF’s production of math/science teachers by a substantial margin, and will help the university meet both state and national goals in enhancing students’ capacity in these critical areas. Our College is also a partner in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant proposal that was submitted last fall, and if funded, we will be deeply involved in undergraduate science education in the life sciences across campus in four different colleges: Agriculture, Engineering, CLAS, and Medicine.

One common characteristic that these initiatives share, along with those still emerging, is our close collaboration with departments, centers or other units on campus. This interdisciplinary collaboration is an essential component of both the university and the College strategic plans, and it is exciting to see so many people becoming involved with these efforts. Many faculty have also told me how stimulating they find these cross-disciplinary conversations, and I encourage everyone who either wants to join one of these initiatives, or to start one of their own, to talk to me about their ideas so I can connect you with the appropriate persons. We all need to begin thinking about the College’s legacy for the next 100 years, and these conversations provide an ideal forum for doing so.

Catherine Emihovich, Dean