EDUcadian: The Provost’s Desk

By Sue Gettlin | February 22, 2012

By Steve O. Michael, Ph.D.
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Higher Education Management

Once again, congratulations to the faculty, staff, and students of the Education Department for the successful launching of the EDUcadian Newsletter.  Judging from the feedback, the first issue debuted in fall 2011 was well received and I have confidence that EDUcadian will become an important medium for conveying success stories to the Department’s stakeholders.

The Provost’s Desk of the Newsletter will continue to share in the storytelling from the perspective of the Provost whose responsibility is to provide leadership and direction to the academic affairs of the university.  In fulfilling my responsibility, therefore, my actions and reactions are influenced by questions that are constantly on my mind:  What new academic programs should be developed in response to the University Mission?  How do the existing academic programs fulfill the Mission?  How does the Mission itself meet societal needs?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the academic programs vis a vis the strengths and weaknesses of competing academic programs at comparable and aspirant institutions?  How are the academic programs meeting the need of current students and how are they changing in anticipation of future students needs?  In short, how do we reform these programs and take them to their next level of excellence?

An effective Provost is bombarded by incredible amount of data daily in an endless quest for increasing access for students, resources for faculty, trained talents for society, and supportive and inclusive academic environment.   This daunting job is made easier when a Department rises to its own challenges within the framework of the University Plan.  This then becomes a sweet story told and retold by a happy Provost.

In this Issue, I continue in my reflection on what the Education Department does and does so well in comparison with other Teacher Education programs in the region.  Specifically, I focus my attention on the Department’s contributions to the needs of adult students and graduate education.  The complexity of teaching at the K-12 education level requires that teachers maintain their certification and stay abreast of new pedagogical developments.  Therefore, school teachers must have access to university education programs that are responsive to the changing needs of K-12 classrooms and flexible in meeting the needs and lifestyles of adults who must balance their personal life with their professional demands.

Over the years, the faculty of the Education Department have distinguished themselves by their works with schools, especially the neighboring schools by establishing a synergistic school network that provides meaningful fieldwork opportunities to their students; ensuring an effective tripartite relationship among field instructors, classroom faculty, and the students; and translating the classrooms into research laboratories and a fertile ground for creative and innovative ideas.  Recently, the Department, under the leadership of Dr. Leif Gustavson, working together with Dr. Erik Nelson, the Dean of the School of Continuing Studies, developed plans to respond to the financial challenges of teachers from the network in need of further and graduate education.  The plans include expansion of online opportunities as well as classes offered at the King of Prussia campus.  These plans provide significant financial incentives for students to enroll in the summer 2012!  As the Provost, I am delighted in knowing that their efforts are not only concentrated on continuous improvement of quality but also on expanding the number of courses available and the number of courses offered online, at the King of Prussia campus, and at times convenient to adult learners.

I have no doubt that the readers will enjoy the stories in this Issue of The EDUcadian.  Every aspect of The EDUcadian–from the feature stories to faculty and alumni news, our new Student Spotlight, and the announcement of a major Education Department Colloquium–fits together to create easily identifiable features of the Education Department.  At Arcadia, we know a good story when we see one, and we understand the ways–the language, if you will–by which our stories should be conveyed to the world.  Each creative act undertaken by our Education Department, whether in the form of new images and words on a web site, the production of this newsletter, handouts created for open houses, or other ways of reaching the University audience and the larger community and world, takes us one step closer to helping the public remember us for what we are best known for: Educating with passion, understanding, and an eye toward real-world experience.  I commend the Department for their efforts to reach out to their stakeholders by all means necessary.  Enjoy this issue of The EDUcadian and I hope you will provide the Department with your feedback as they continue to explore ways to respond to your needs.