Message from the Dean - October 2011

"Teach them well and let them lead the way."

Teach them well and let them lead the way.

George Benson wrote a song entitled The Greatest Love of All.  This song was later made popular by Whitney Houston.  The gist of the lyrics are:

            I believe the children are the future.  Teach them well and let them lead the way.  Show them all the beauty they possess inside.  Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.  Let the children’s laughter remind us how it used to be.

The lyrics of this song remind me so powerfully of the intent of what we do in the College of Education.  We “teach [professionals] well and let them lead the way.”  We teach them how to educate, serve, and lead so that they can educate, serve, and lead the next generation.  As we begin to implement the goals of our strategic plan, we must be mindful that our ultimate impact is on the professional effectiveness of those we prepare.

            Last month, I sent a message which focused on our premier points.  Those points were:

  • Diversity
  • Technology-rich teaching and learning environment
  • Research and Development School
  • Elementary Science
  • Early Childhood
  • Literacy Education
  • Place-based Education

When these premier points were vetted across multiple audiences, there was rich conversation pertaining to whether these were signature programs, aspirational points, or points of distinction that already existed.  Some thought that a few of the points were highlighting specific programs and not inclusive of all aspects of the College.  Some wanted to add a contextual component and thought that a focus on rural education could be the avenue to premier.  The rationale was that Iowa is predominantly a rural state; and, if we can showcase our students’ effectiveness in rural communities, then that indeed would be premier.

            After much conversation about the status of premier, several criteria emerged.  The premier points should be:

  • operational in their genesis, but aspirational in their intent. 
  • viewed as inclusive of all programs within the College of Education and possibly across Teacher Education.
  • steeped in skills development that our students should possess in order to become effective professionals. 

In alphabetical order, not priority, the points are listed.  As you review the points, think about whether these are inclusive, skills-building, distinctive, operational, as well as aspirational points.

  • Assessment
  • Community service and outreach
  • Diversity
  • Field-based experiences
  • Inquiry
  • Leadership
  • Literacy
  • Technology

Will these points allow us to teach them well so that they can lead the way?

Dr. Dwight C. Watson

Dean, College of Education