Message from the Dean
Increasingly I hear the phrase “new normal.” It refers to a changed mindset in society as a result of the financial crisis. People are reevaluating their lives, determining what is important and what is not. As a college and university, we are also looking at a new normal. Our budget is under increasing pressure. We are prioritizing our needs, ensuring that our resources are devoted to our students and our programs. We are also looking at ways to generate new resources through recruitment and retention efforts, the expansion of our programs and grant writing.
We need to identify even more efficiencies. With most of our budget devoted to personnel, we are reviewing class size and course scheduling to ensure that our enrollment management and scheduling practices are maximally efficient, while continuing to meet the needs of students and maintaining high quality instruction. For example, programs need to schedule classes to ensure those classes are as close to the allocated capacity as possible. And thanks to efforts by faculty members in almost every program area, we are adding new cohorts to existing programs and putting degree programs online. So we are simultaneously seeking efficiencies and also taking on more responsibilities and growth.
The phrase new normal also has special relevance for a college founded as a normal school. We constantly measure the outcomes of our educator programs (via feedback from our students and from our school partners) and make program adjustments based on those measurements. For example, responding to feedback from principals and cooperating teachers, we developed intensive writing and ESL classes in our elementary teacher preparation programs.
As a college, one of our priorities is program quality. We continue to strive to ensure that everything from our program array, through delivery mechanism, to curriculum is current and relevant. We are currently reexamining the survey instrument used to evaluate instruction. Faculty members regularly speak with great pride about the changes and improvements they are introducing into their teaching. Several important recommendations have resulted from the program review process.
The College has developed opportunities for faculty to collaborate with scholars in universities in several countries, including Ireland, Nigeria, Russia and Thailand. These collaborations could (depending on the location) involve sabbatical leave stays, collaborative research or summer teaching opportunities.
In spite of the budgetary constraints, the college continues to see success on many fronts. The majority of our hiring searches for faculty were successful and we welcomed nine new colleagues to the college. We received several grants toward the end of the year and our work in fund raising is reaping dividends. We recently received a $50,000 commitment from the Johnson Foundation for our Center for Urban Education in Denver. Faculty and programs received several awards, including a Spencer Fellowship (Dr. Rashida Banerjee), and a national recognition for the Cumbres program by Excelencia in Education. Several other awards are documented in this newsletter. Our graduates continue to do us proud as they obtain meaningful and important jobs and have transformative effects on the lives of others.
While the financial future warrants
concern I am confident in our ability to
grow as a college and to continue to
have influence over the educational
system in Colorado and the nation.
Thank you for your continued support.
From the top:
Dean Eugene Sheehan with alumnus Dr. Sumate Yamnoon,
Secretary General, Thai Commission on Higher Education
Dr. Flo Guido and Dr. Katrina Rodriguez at the Applied Statistics
& Research Methods Research
Dr. Rick Silverman speaking in