Message from the Dean - September 2011

"Listen, Learn, and Lead: College of Education Premier Points"

I ended the August message to the faculty and staff with the phrase listen, learn, and lead.  Vickie Robinson picked up on this phrase and provided me the following quote:


"We must be silent before we can listen.  We must listen before we can learn.  We must learn before we can prepare.  We must prepare before we can serve.  We must serve before we can lead." William Arthur Wood


Based on this quote, the phrase should be enhanced to “listen, learn, prepare, serve, and lead".  In order for us to become the premier PK-12 teacher preparation program, we will need to take this quote to heart and action.


This summer, I did an environmental scan of all that we had to offer and settled on six premier points that I think will launch us to premier status as we enhance our teaching, scholarship, and service around these areas.


  • Diversity:  Prepare highly effective teachers who are culturally, developmentally, linguistically, and technologically competent and confident.  We will do this by enhancing our own skill sets through professional development opportunities, mapping our curriculum to determine evidence and gaps, and providing diversity immersion experiences for our students and faculty.  Recently hired, Stephanie Logan and Ty Perkins will enhance our abilities in this area.


  • Technology- Rich Teaching and Learning Environments: There are 40 districts that have embarked on one-to-one initiatives.  It has been predicted that by the end of the year, 100 school districts will have launched such initiatives.  Our own Price Lab School or the Iowa Research & Development School has initiated research on the use of one-to-one technologies with some students using laptops and others using iPads.  As the R&D teachers hone their skills, they will be exceptional models for our students.  We need to be intentional in preparing our students for one-to-one schools.  I have charged our Instructional Technology Program to lead the way as we restructure our teaching to better prepare our students to use technology to enhance instruction and increase learners performance.


  • Literacy development:  We will maximize the $11 million dollars that was given to use for the Richard Jacobsn Center for Comprehensive Literacy.  We recently hired Nicki McGowan who will work at Price Lab School to enhance the literacy acquisition of our students at Price Lab School.  Rick Traw and Salli Forbes are working at other schools across the state.  Many of our students are receiving our literacy endorsement that is focused on the teaching of reading and development intervention.  Curriculum and Instruction and Special Education will work jointly on enhancing our literacy capabilities.


  • Early Childhood Education:  We currently have five distinct entities that are focused on early childhood education:  1) Child Development Center [CDC]; 2) Price Lab School [PK-3rd]; 3) Early Childhood Teacher Preparation as a part of Curriculum and Instruction and Special Education departments; 4) Regents Center for Early Childhood Education; and 5) Freeburg Early Childhood Center.  There is a need to provide synergy around these early childhood initiatives.  Some of the strategic initiatives are to hire a research fellow to encourage connectivity across these entities, review the administrative structure of CDC, hire more faculty in the early childhood program, and investigate the synthesis of PreK programs within the CDC and PLS.


  • Elementary Science:  Science, technology, engineering, mathematic (STEM) initiatives are being highly touted in the middle and high schools.  More needs to be done to cultivate young learners appreciation of science. Reports indicate that elementary science is given limited instructional time and teachers are uncomfortable teaching science.  The COE is poised to provide professional development for practicing teachers so that they can be authentic models of science teaching for pre-service teachers.


  • Iowa's Research & Development School:  Malcolm Price Lab School is in the final years of transition before it becomes the Iowa PK-12 hub for research, development, dissemination, and demonstration.  The school will focus on enhancing effectiveness of pre-service teacher preparation and in-service teacher impact of student performance, PK-12 student performance, and transformational research.


These premier points will be vetted across many constituencies.  As I present them, concepts are being integrated into these six premier points and some others are being proposed.  A proposed point is Place-based Education which would include physical education, health literacy, environment literacy, and sustainability.  As you think about these premier points, make sure that you have an articulated understanding as well as an operational commitment to these points as we embark on listening, learning, and leading to become the premier PK-12 teacher preparation program in the nation.