Fall 2019

Greetings from the Chair

Tom Shields headshot Happy fall semester 2019!

This past summer I read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Leadership in Turbulent Times, which profiles the lives and careers of four American presidents — Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. In the book, Goodwin discusses the leadership of these presidents in times of change. I found parallels with the themes of overcoming change and the importance of the team that we have established in Graduate Education.

As you will read in this edition of the e-newsletter, our team has worked hard to navigate the “turbulent times” facing K-12 education and higher education by offering quality professional development and academic programs with the highest caliber of academic thinking, relevant field experiences, and innovative pedagogical practices.

In our professional development with teachers from local school systems, we continue to focus on marginalized student populations, integration of the arts into classrooms, and discussions on timely topics such as school safety. Our work with aspiring school leaders has longevity, but also has been refreshed to meet the changing demands of leadership in challenged schools. You will also notice that we believe in creating globally aware educators and leaders, which means providing opportunities for students to travel to Asia and Europe as part of summer study abroad experiences.

We also are always striving to improve our academic programs through development of new degrees, courses, and assessment processes. This fall we launched our Master of Teaching degree. This was the culmination of years of work to make sure we offered the most innovative curriculum and applicable field experiences for developing teachers. We have also begun to offer coursework that will assist the growing numbers of provisionally licensed teachers in our local schools.

As always, you will read about the amazing successes of our students, alumni, staff and faculty. You will read about how our Educational Leadership and Policy Studies graduates follow different journeys to their leadership roles. Our Teacher Education programs have produced large numbers of graduates who have received the Teacher of the Year award in their schools and districts. Finally, our full-time and adjunct faculty and our staff continue to be thought leaders in their fields by publishing, presenting and attending academic and practitioner conferences in Virginia, and beyond.

I’ve stated this several times — we might not be the largest or loudest in the Richmond area, but we certainly carry a big stick in our work and impact! (Note the reference to Teddy Roosevelt!)

Enjoy reading this newsletter. We hope everyone has a great fall and a wonderful start to the academic year!

Be safe and be well!

Tom Shields signature
Tom J. Shields, Ph.D.
Graduate Education Chair