A message from Interim Dean Shawn Quilter

By Shawn Quilter | Published October 21, 2014

The 2014-2015 year is well underway at Eastern Michigan University with over 3,000 students, both undergraduate and graduate, currently enrolled in programs associated with the College of Education.

Our student headcount and credit hours have experienced declines in the last several years, particularly at the undergraduate level, where most students earn their provisional teaching certificates. In 2013, the Michigan Department of Education changed some certification rules for provisional renewals and professional certificates. These changes, in effect, reduced the need to complete college coursework to meet continuing teacher certification requirements. Many teacher preparation programs in Michigan are experiencing similar enrollment declines. Indeed, this phenomenon exists in many states, where the economy, school reform efforts, and various other social and political factors impact students' decisions to become teachers.

As a College, we have experienced a decline in graduate-level credit hours, although the drop has been much smaller at this level than at the undergraduate-level. In fact, our graduate-level enrollments have been relatively strong over the past several years. Despite these and other challenges, we remain committed to preparing excellent teachers, leaders, counselors, speech pathologists and other educational professionals for careers that range from early childhood through college.

Since the last newsletter, Beth Kubitskey (associate dean for curriculum and students) and Martha Kinney-Sedgwick (department head, teacher education) moved from interim to permanent administrative roles. We also welcomed Janet Fisher (interim department head, special education), Wendy Burke (director of student teaching), and Christine Lancaster (director of student support) to administrative positions. We are excited to have these dynamic colleagues as part of our leadership team. In mid-September, the search committee for the dean of the College of Education began its work. The position was posted on October 1 and the permanent dean is slated to begin her or his appointment in the summer of 2015.

In this edition, we highlight the success of a counseling student who was awarded a national fellowship. We'll also update you on the John W. Porter Chair Speaker Series; the activities of our Office of Urban, Community, and International Outreach (OUCIO); and the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program. Please take few minutes to read about the accomplishments of our outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Lastly, I want to tell you about a scholarship event I recently attended, where fourteen Road To Completion scholarship students were honored. The scholarship is the result of a generous gift from Mr. Bill Berman, a real estate developer and philanthropist who was born and raised in Detroit. Several of these students are preparing to become teachers and each student spoke about their educational journey and plans for the future. They are bright, articulate students who are already making positive differences in the lives of the people around them. The common theme among their stories was that it takes perseverance and resources to complete a baccalaureate degree.

Their stories were inspiring and this event reminded me of two very important things. First, EMU welcomes and supports a wide diversity of students to its programs. We are proud of their accomplishments and we know they will go on to do great things in their communities and professions. Second, we cannot underestimate the power of giving. The cumulative gifts of EMU donors make it possible for many students to achieve their goals. No matter what size, gifts to EMU's students and programs make it possible for dreams to be realized. With some additional support, these very capable Road to Completion scholars will soon be EMU alumni, and in turn, will give back to the next generation of EMU students.

I welcome and encourage your comments. You can reach me at 734.487.1414 or [email protected]. If you would like to schedule a tour of the John W. Porter building, please contact [email protected]. I also invite you to "Like" the College of Education's Facebook page and "Follow" us on Twitter.

Thank you for your continued support of the College of Education.

Shawn Quilter, Ph.D.
Interim Dean, College of Education