Faculty & Staff E-news 6.8.15

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Summer session begins today, and my thanks to all faculty members who are teaching this summer, continuing our tradition of excellence in preparing students to work with our diverse urban communities. Comparing headcount and student credit hours from June 5, 2015 to June 2, 2014 we have 614 students registered (down 5%) for 3,291 credit hours (down 4%). I am hopeful that some late summer registrations at least get us to the point where we were last year, so everyone’s efforts in helping students register if they have not yet done so will be appreciated.

I am pleased to report that the TLL has now relocated and reopened in its new space in 129. The books in the old library within 129 have been temporarily moved to the old Mac computer lab and the campus-wide IS computer lab now resides within the prior TLL space. Some remodeling will occur throughout the summer so you will have to make a point to visit our new “Learning Commons” upon your return in the fall.

Joining us in the fall will be two new faculty members. Dr. Ekaterina Strekalova-Hughes will be an assistant professor for early childhood education and start in August. She currently serves as an assistant professor of early childhood education at Columbus state University where her research focus is on educational experiences of refugee children and storytelling practices of culturally diverse families. She holds her doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Michelle Maher also will join us in August as a full professor for higher education administration. She is currently on the faculty of the College of Education at the University of South Carolina and holds her Ph.D. from George Mason University. Dr. Maher has expertise in cross-disciplinary graduate student development, assessment in higher education and faculty development. Additionally, we have launched a search for a one-year instructor in Language and Literacy for this fall and I thank committee members Drs. Rita Barger (chair), Clare Bell, Kindel Nash and Connor Warner for agreeing to serve in this capacity.

I also want to extend my thanks to Dr. Rita Barger for her commitment to the CIL division and formally announce that she is stepping down from the chair of the division at the end of the summer. She has spent the last six years as interim chair and chair, tirelessly advocating for our students and working to build consensus within the division and shepherding initiatives through the necessary channels. Her easy-going demeanor, tenacity and dedication have served us well. She will remain with CIL as an associate professor and refocus her efforts on research and full-time teaching. Dr. Clare Bell, who has been with the division since 2008 and was promoted to associate professor in 2014, will step into the role of chair for a three-year appointment beginning in the fall semester. I welcome her to this new adventure in her career and appreciate her willingness to accept the opportunity.

And, as many of you know, I regret having to announce that Dr. Patricia Alvarez-McHatton will be leaving the SOE next month to accept the deanship of the College of Education and P16 Integration at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. In her year here, Dr. McHatton has made an indelible mark in assisting us with implementing necessary changes given DESE’s changing requirements, supported and strengthened our teacher education programs, mentored faculty, forged strong relationships with community members and donors, and brought us the acclaimed TLE TeachLivE. I will miss her tenacity, enthusiasm, dedication, commitment and counsel—and wish her only the best in her new endeavors.

Finally, a reminder that The Edgar L. & Rheta A. Berkley Child & Family Development Center’s Playground preschool playground dedication and ribbon cutting, held in connection with its 22nd birthday celebration and curriculum night, will be this Thursday, June 11th from 4:45-6 p.m. The formal ribbon cutting will follow a short program that will begin at 5 p.m. To join us, please RSVP to prendergastp@umkc.edu.