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Associate deans retiring from School of Education

Friday, April 24, 2015

LAWRENCE – As the 2014-15 academic year winds down, the Dean’s Office at the University of Kansas School of Education will say thank you and goodbye to two long-standing associate deans. Sally Roberts, associate dean for teacher education and undergraduate programs, and James Lichtenberg, associate dean for research and graduate programs, will both retire at the end of May. The two have provided a combined 72 years of service.

Roberts began working at KU on a federal grant in 1983 and has served as associate dean for the school since 2006. Before her time at KU, she taught for 11 years at the Kansas State School for the Deaf in Olathe, then served as project coordinator and principal investigator on six federal Office of Special Education grants.

“Sally has been an invaluable partner and colleague, and represents the heart and soul of the undergraduate and teacher education programs during her years in the office as associate dean,” said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education. “Given Sally’s many years in Lawrence as a student, as a faculty member and as an administrator, she bleeds crimson and blue. Everyone who worked with her will miss her presence at KU.”

“KU has been a magnificent place to work, and I have enjoyed students, staff, faculty and other colleagues — both in the school and across campus,” Roberts said. “The people here have been such a support, always willing to share their expertise, which has been the reason for my positive experience.”

Roberts became a tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Special Education in 2001, and she directed the teacher preparation program in deaf education for seven years. She also initiated KU's first introductory course in American Sign Language, which she taught for 25 years. Throughout, Roberts has been active at the state and local levels in support of teacher preparation, professional development, assessment and program accreditation.

“Looking back on my service as associate dean, I am most proud of the fact that we have attained accreditation through two rounds of review,” Roberts said. “Accreditation is such a critical piece of our teacher preparation programs, but we’ve gone through the reviews and visits well because I’ve placed a high emphasis on being a strong partner with both the Kansas State Department of Education as well as colleagues at other teacher preparation programs in Kansas.”

Roberts has always been passionate about being in the field — through research, supervision of students and student teachers, one-on-one work in the classrooms and with principals at the building level.

“I want to continue to focus on this after I retire, and I’m excited to get back to my roots and provide onsite technical assistance in special education,” Roberts said. “I also have eight grandkids that range in age from 7 to almost 16, and I am thankful that I live close enough to be an active participant in their lives.”

Lichtenberg has been at KU for 40 years and has served as associate dean for the school since 2004. In addition to his role as associate dean, Lichtenberg has served as the director of training for the doctoral program in counseling psychology and also as the director of the University Counseling Center, now Counseling & Psychological Services.

“Jim has been in the associate dean role since I came to KU 10 years ago. His thoughtful and caring approach to all issues related to graduate studies is recognized and appreciated by all of the faculty, staff and students he works with,” Ginsberg said. “He has had a great career as a faculty member and administrator, and he will be sorely missed.”

Lichtenberg’s academic home has been the Department of Psychology & Research in Education, previously known as both the Department of Counseling and the Department of Counseling Psychology. This summer, the department will become the Department of Educational Psychology. Throughout, Lichtenberg has been involved with psychology leadership at both the state and national levels. Even through retirement, he will be serving as the president of Division 17, the Society of Counseling Psychology.

“Being a faculty member, training director and director of the counseling center — and serving as part of an administrative team in the KU School of Education — have been incredibly rewarding for me. I’ve had a wonderful career at KU, and I will hold a sense of pride around my contributions to the university and the field,” Lichtenberg said. “As a result of my positions, I have been fortunate to take advantage of a number of professional opportunities — locally, at the state level and nationally — and those opportunities have led to a number of truly rewarding experiences, both professional and personal. I’ve been privileged to be able to work with many terrifically talented graduate students who have become faculty and researchers or who are practicing as professionals, psychologists and counselors working in the Veterans Administration, university counseling centers, community mental health centers, hospitals and academic departments. I am proud of my students’ many accomplishments and have enjoyed being a part of their journey.”

The KU School of Education and soon-to-be Department of Educational Psychology will host an individual retirement reception for both associate deans in recognition of their work and dedication to the university. More information about the events is available online. The search for new associate dean candidates has closed, and the new associate deans will be announced in May.

The School of Education is a nationally ranked school serving educators to prepare them as leaders.


10th among public universities for its master’s and doctoral programs
—U.S. News & World Report
#1 public program in nation for special education
—U.S. News & World Report
Assists public schools and other partners in all 105 Kansas counties
$938,377 in scholarship funds awarded to 420+ students
Research expenditures of $36,804,773 for 2011-12
Research from KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, assists educators, children, and families across the United States
The award-winning special education faculty published 140 refereed articles, 11 books, and 60 chapters in 2015-16
Students with intellectual disabilities are participating in KU undergraduate programs through a grant-funded KU special education program
Researchers on a $3.5 million grant are collecting data on an innovative reading program designed to teach reading to students with the most significant disabilities in seven Kansas school districts
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
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