A goal of our strategic plan is to enhance our community service and outreach. An objective of this goal is to engage and connect with key stakeholders who have influences on our programs and practices. The United States Congress, the United States Department of Education, the Iowa State Legislature, the Iowa Department of Education, and the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners are the prime entities that create education reform initiatives which we must implement when they become laws and statutes.
At UNI, we must be sentinel-like in our review of national and state policy reform that affects teacher preparation and PK-12 school systems. We convene legislators in town hall meetings, attend day-on-the-hill events, and have several legislators on our advisory council in order to actively connect with our legislators. We frequently respond to reform initiatives by offering suggestions and soliciting changes when we feel impending reform initiatives do not take into account the implementation effects. For instance, a group of teacher education faculty as well as Pat Geadelmann, Special Assistant to the President for Board Governmental Relations, and Jeneane Beck, State Relations Officer, have met periodically to craft responses to Iowa Department of Education task force initiatives. We want our voices heard when decisions are being made that will affect us. Strategically, it is best to craft our statements before the legislative session so that Pat and Jeneane can bring our messages to the key national and state stakeholders.
Recently, we set up a web page where we list the reform initiatives and then our responses to these initiatives. I encourage all of you to review this page and the responses. If you teach a course that includes responses to policy initiatives, you may want to share some of these documents with your students. They, too, need to be informed about their future roles as advocates for their profession. Visit the web page at: http://www.uni.edu/coe/about/education-policy-and-reform-efforts
As I end this message, I want to thank Melissa Heston for her leadership as the Coordinator of Elementary Programs. Her guidance, support, advice, and input have been instrumental as we crafted responses to various reform efforts over the past three years. Melissa, we will indeed miss your vigilance, energy, and industry. You have been an incredible force in moving the teacher education program forward toward its goals.
As we say farewell to Melissa, let us welcome J. D. Cryer as the new Coordinator of Elementary Programs. J. D. was selected due to his investment in elementary education, dedication to the teacher education program, and attention to detail. We embrace the experiences that he will bring to the leadership team and look forward to his guidance as we move toward our ultimate goal of leading the state and the nation as the premier pre-professional preparation program.
I wish you all good cheer as you bask in the warmth of friends and family.