Dean’s Message: Reflections on my tenure–and approaching departure–as dean

Dear Colleagues, In February, Provost Joe Glover informed you via email of my recent decision to step down as dean of UF’s College of Education and return to teaching and […]


April 8, 2011



Dean Catherine Emihovich

Dean Catherine Emihovich

Dear Colleagues,

In February, Provost Joe Glover informed you via email of my recent decision to step down as dean of UF’s College of Education and return to teaching and research on the education faculty. I want to follow up with my own expressions of gratitude and appreciation. Some of the details from the provost’s note are repeated, in case you missed his email, but I also add my own thoughts and feelings about my transition . . .

My move becomes official Aug. 14 and I will take a year’s sabbatical leave before assuming my tenured faculty responsibilities in our School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education.

I have served as the College’s 12th dean, and its first woman dean, since 2002. The time just feels right for me, and my family, to move into the next phase of my career and life. My husband, Ron, and I especially look forward to spending more quality time together. While enduring some very difficult economic times for the College and University during my tenure, it has nonetheless been an honor and privilege to work with so many dedicated and committed faculty and staff who have made this College the very special place that it is today.

I want to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to all of you who have continually answered our call for hard work and support. I couldn’t leave my position without acknowledging all that you have done. Against all odds, the College has prospered over the past decade, and all the credit goes to our faculty, staff, and supportive stakeholders who made it all possible.

A signature element of my deanship was the emphasis on the concept of “engaged scholarship.” We can all take pride in how the College has emerged as a national leader in effective education reform, and that we now reach out to over 300 schools across Florida. Our Lastinger Center for Learning is considered a national role model for partnering with high-need schools around the state in support of whole-school improvement and teachers’ continuing professional development. Another national program, UF Teach, represents a radically different approach to recruiting science and mathematics majors into the teaching ranks, easing the shortage of qualified teachers in the STEM fields. The National Center to Improve Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development (NCIPP) has played a leading role in the continuing policy debates about teacher quality. P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, in partnership with the Center for School Improvement, has established a national model of teacher inquiry for other K-12 schools to emulate.

Last year, College faculty held nearly $38 million in active research and training grants, our highest total ever. A major milestone occurred just a couple months ago when the College spearheaded UF’s creation of a Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies that will promote research and outreach efforts designed to enhance children’s early learning and healthy development from birth to age 5. As part of the University’s “Florida Tomorrow” capital campaign, the College has already exceeded its third fundraising goal of $25M, although the campaign runs through 2012. During my deanship, more than 30 new student scholarships and fellowships were funded by our generous donors.

Although I did not accomplish my most ambitious goals – securing external funding to renovate Norman Hall and add a new addition to create the Experiential Learning Complex – I was able to secure almost $5 million dollars to enhance our IT infrastructure, and renovate several areas of Old and New Norman. These areas included the new REM/OER complex, the new DE offices on the third floor, new office space to accommodate the STEM-related faculty on the ground floor, new office space for the Lastinger Center, and early childhood faculty and the new Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, space for a faculty research commons, and the long-awaited staff lounge.

I am indeed proud of what the College has accomplished “on my watch”—thanks to your vital support. Our accomplishments, however, are merely the foundation for even greater achievement in the years to come. UF’s College of Education expects to play a lead role in transforming our education system to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and closing the persistent achievement gap for students most in need. With you and others in the EduGator Nation behind us, success with distinction is not just our goal, but our only option.

Dean Catherine Emihovich pops wheelie on motorcycle (with some help from Photoshop) in preparation for ride in 2005 Homecoming parade.

'Easy Rider' Emihovich, practicing for ride in 2005 Homecoming parade, pops a wheelie (with some Photoshop assistance), bringing to mind one of her favorite sayings: 'This isn't your mother's college of education."

I look forward to assuming my new role in the effort, not as dean, but as a fellow teacher and scholar on the faculty of UF’s College of Education

I now close, one last time as dean, with my all-time favorite sign-off:  Gooooooooooo Gators!!!


Catherine Emihovich, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean