To our students and alumni:
My oldest grandchild began seventh grade this fall, and her science class’s first unit was, of all things, the weather. She has been glued to the tracking systems, seeking to make sense of the enormity of the recent natural phenomena and the utter devastation they have caused. It is a reminder to all of us the importance of our work as educators. We can teach the elements of earth science, but it is so much harder to explain why we are stalled in preventing further climate change, leaving my grandchild’s generation with the results of that neglect. No matter how you come at it, schools must be places beyond content, places where conflicting opinions are worked with, where skills of listening and persuasion across differences are built.
In this time of more than natural disruption, we here at the Graduate School of Education are more committed than ever to stand for a set of values and to define excellent teaching as inclusive of those values: that every student matters, that learning must come in a variety of modalities, that students deserve to be challenged, and that developing an aesthetic sense is as important as all the other academic components.
Thus, this year we are purposefully focusing on our values--to insist that quality and inclusion in teaching are inseparable, and that we must model both the skills and dispositions we espouse. In addition, we will be more intentional in letting our Initial licensure candidates know that becoming a great teacher goes beyond an initial license.
While we get you ready for your classrooms, we will also make sure that you exit with a professional plan that involves continuing study that will move you from good to better to great. For our part, we will be creating more flexible and impactful ways to be partners with every one of our students in your journey, creating new opportunities for your growth as an educator.
We will also launch a major strategic planning effort that supports these changes and pushes our thinking about the future of higher education and PreK-12 schools.
Best wishes as you begin your new classes this fall.
Dean Jonathon (Jack) Gillette