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Message From the Dean

Happy Holidays & An Even Happier New Year

We live in a such dynamic culture: Sometimes it feels as if the world around us is changing at warp speed. Just think, for example, in the near future our cars will be driving us! That is why we, as educators at a leading research university, are compelled to think about tomorrow and plan for the unknown as best we can. 

The cornerstones of our daily work remain the same. Our tripartite work focusing on teaching, research and service drives the daily activities of faculty and staff. Flourishing in these areas is possible only if we embrace the future in ways that can foster success. The School of Education has three key goals that are driving our work forward: technology, diversity and globalization. While the basis for good teaching will always be good teachers, enhancing teaching with appropriate technology is important, especially as students come to campus with skills and expectations around technology use. Today’s newest students are a SnapChat generation; they behave and think in different ways than students just a few years ahead of them. For us, it means utilizing the best teaching technologies available. For example, we provide a technology summer camp for our faculty where they learn new technologies to enhance their work. Many faculty use hybrid models with some class sessions online and others in the traditional face-to-face mode. We also have moved into online education, with over 600 wholly online students in graduate programs. We are learning together, sharing ideas and embracing new tools. 

Diversity is the essence of American culture. It truly always has been. But today, for the first time in U.S. history, a majority of students in public schools come from minority backgrounds. We strive to diversify our faculty, staff and student numbers, but equally important, we look at curriculum in all our programs to make certain we are preparing our teachers, other educators, scholars, exercise experts, health, mental health and sports management professionals for the reality they will confront in their working careers. This is hard but important work, and our faculty and staff are dedicated to making sure we serve all those in our culture. The world has become our canvas. We have growing numbers of international students and faculty, but more important, our graduates will operate in jobs that require global savvy. We have students in study abroad programs in multiple countries; cohorts of students from countries such as China come to the School of Education to learn about our practices; faculty from KU engage in cultural exchanges all over the world; and international scholars come to Lawrence to work with us. Indeed, we are in the early stages of considering shared programs with institutions from other nations. Many have written about the global community, but we consider preparation in the global space they’ll encounter crucial to helping our students succeed once they get there.

The specifics of tomorrow’s world are always unknown. We strive to prepare ourselves and our students as best we can by adopting strategies that keep us on the front edge of changing practices and expectations. You, our friends and alumni, have the enormous responsibility of keeping us on our toes, and making sure we are doing the right things. Let us hear from you. Our Jayhawk family is key if we are to maintain our past successes in this ever-changing space.

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

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