Dean Emihovich reports good news for the College

EmihovichWithout question, the most dramatic news for this semester is President Machen’s decision to award the newly created David Lawrence, Jr. Professorship in Early Childhood Studies to the College of Education. His choice was based on the quality of the research; the number of family/school/community-based initiatives that many of our faculty have done; the quality of child care at Baby Gator, which also serves as a research site for faculty across the university; and his confidence that we will achieve our long-range goal of creating an Early Childhood Center of Excellence.

The faculty in the Unified Early Childhood Program will be able to leverage this professorship to increase the College’s visibility in creating new models for successful early childhood interventions, and addressing questions related to the link between high-quality early child care and long-term economic development.

If this weren’t enough news, as we wind down this academic semester, and get ready for 2006, a new “buzz” of excitement fills the college halls. We have a jam-packed series of events planned for the Centennial Celebrations that will take place all year long. Our first event is the Centennial Kick-Off, on Jan. 24, 2006, which will feature nationally syndicated columnist and TV commentator David Brooks.

Brooks has written some unusually thoughtful and insightful columns in The New York Times lately on race, poverty, gender differences, and the importance of human capital, and I believe he is genuinely interested in engaging in a dialogue that crosses political boundaries to focus on seeking solutions to our most intractable educational problems. Please check the College Intranet ( to read these articles.

His visit will be closely followed by the first of three speakers for the Fien Lecture series, Dr. Robert Jimenez from Vanderbilt University, who will be visiting us on Jan. 25-26. The other two Fien speakers will be Gloria Ladson-Billings from the University of Wisconsin, Madison on Feb. 16-17, and Dr. Luis Moll from the University of Arizona on March 5–7. These wonderful speakers will complement the speakers each department will bring in next year, along with speakers for the brown bag colloquia organized by the Office of Educational Research.

The culminating event for the centennial will be a conference at the end of November or early December that highlights key themes within the College. The planning committee is chaired by Dr. Eileen Oliver, associate dean for Distance, Continuing and Executive Education, who is also an affiliated faculty member in STL, and the members are Silvia Echevarria-Doan (Counselor Education), Phil Clark (Educational Administration and Policy), Rod Webb (Educational Psychology), Dorene Ross (School of Teaching and Learning), Mary Kay Dykes (Special Education), Megan Connaughton (ECC), Meredith DiPietro (SAGE), Amy Hollinger (PKY) and Pam Pallas (Baby Gator). The committee is just beginning its work, and they welcome suggestions and ideas from faculty and students as they establish the theme, speakers and activities.

With this rich array of research events and speakers, our college will certainly enhance its reputation well into the next century for cutting-edge research and educational innovations.

Watch for this newsletter, because the good news about our college just keeps coming. I wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday, and I will see you all in 2006.

Catherine Emihovich, Dean