College of Education

Catherine Emihovich, former dean of the UF College of Education, passed away on August 21 after a long and challenging illness. The EduGator community joins Dr. Emihovich’s family in mourning her death.

Dr. Emihovich served as the 12th dean of the College of Education from 2002–2011, and was the first woman to lead the college.

She embraced outreach initiatives under the rubric of the Scholarship of Engagement, an education model for higher education first promoted by noted educator Ernest Boyer, that connects academic scholarship to the practical concerns of educators and work that contributes to the public good.

When announcing her decision to step down from the college’s top position, UF Provost Joseph Glover said, “The college has prospered under her leadership in many ways, and the faculty, staff, students and UF administration have ample reason to thank her for her insightful and sustained attention to academic excellence, administrative and fiscal management, and foresight in planning for the future.”

Among her many notable accomplishments are:

  • Positioning UF as a national leader in effective education reform, exemplified by the college’s Lastinger Center for Learning, which linked some 300 partnering schools across Florida with UF research scholars from multiple disciplines, forming powerful learning communities in support of school improvement and children’s learning and healthy development.
  • Establishing UF Teach, began in 2008 representing a radically different approach to recruiting science and mathematics majors into the teaching ranks in order to ease the shortage of qualified teachers in the STEM fields.
  • Facilitating UF’s creation of an interdisciplinary Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies (now the Anita Zucker Center) in 2006 and helping to secure the college’s $1.5 million David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Professorship in Early Childhood Studies.
  • Launching the college’s online learning program in 2004 which experienced an exponential growth during Emihovich’s tenure, generating nearly 4,400 enrollments, in 130 courses, in 2010.

A former high school English teacher, Emihovich earned a doctorate in educational psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a master’s degree in measurement and statistics from SUNY Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama from Syracuse University. She held several professorial and administrative roles over her career including professor in the department of counseling and educational psychology at SUNY Buffalo. Other appointments include associate professor of educational research at Florida State University and assistant professor in the department of educational psychology at the University of South Carolina and education dean for California State University at Sacramento. She also was editor of Anthropology and Education Quarterly and among multiple presentations and publications, edited a popular text, “Locating Learning: Ethnographic Perspectives on Classroom Research.”

After stepping down from the position as the college’s dean in 2011, Emihovich taught qualitative research methods in the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education until her retirement in 2013. She also held status as affiliate professor in the Department of Anthropology. 

She is survived by her husband Ron, her sons David and Ben, and her five grandchildren.

Catherine Emihovich