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Message From the Dean

Embracing the future.

Higher education is in a period of transition as emerging technologies, increasing costs, and competition for students and research dollars combine with other factors to create an atmosphere of disruption. With the escalating costs of options for post-secondary education, students are questioning as never before the value of seeking undergraduate and graduate studies. Institutions that resist making appropriate changes do so at their own peril. 

The faculty, students, staff and friends of the School of Education at KU have worked hard to stay ahead of the curve. We embraced an aggressive online presence several years ago that has resulted in today serving more than 500 full-time graduate students in master’s degrees and certificate programs spanning four departments. At the same time, in multiple on-campus programs, faculty employ technology to create hybrid courses, so students meet both face-to-face and online for content and interactions. As a research university, we fund an internal evaluation group to conduct research and assessments of varying aspects and outcomes of our online programs to assure that we are meeting student needs and quality standards. At the same time, we are working with a variety of external groups in considering ways to offer micro-credentials for professionals needing in-time support for their daily work. Many programs are also considering ways to provide more leeway for students in required course selection, so those already in professional roles can choose the content and topics they need to be successful. 

Another example of embracing innovation is in our teacher preparation program, where we employ a virtual learning network for students and practicing teachers to connect and develop together through discussions, webinars and other online connections. Education is changing across the world and collaboration with other institutions has become critical to success. The School is a founding member of the Global Education Deans Forum which brings together deans of education from around the world to identify common issues and strategize ways to address them. The initial meeting of this group was held in Shanghai in October 2018. It included about 30 deans from 16 countries across six continents. Through this group, the deans share innovations that are transferable to other contexts and seek ways to join together for advocacy, programming and research collaboratives. A key goal is finding ways to support our curriculum with global perspectives and provide opportunities for students to learn about other cultures.

The ever-changing nature of our work is part of what makes being at KU so exciting for all administrators, faculty and students. We have accomplished much. This year’s rankings of graduate programs were recently released, and our programs remain highly regarded. Our research expenditures hit the highest level in our history. Rankings can be controversial, but on key peer and employer assessments and various productivity measures, our evaluations rank us among the top 20 of all universities out of about 350 assessed, and in the top 10 among public institutions. 

We recognize the need, however, to continually consider and assess the value of all aspects of our work. Given our dynamic times, your input and support are crucial for our success. Rock Chalk!

Rick Ginsberg, Ph.D.
Dean, KU School of Education

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