Education Chair’s Message

By Sue Gettlin | February 20, 2012

Connectivity has almost become a cliché, and as such, pushes us to challenge the truth of the inherent idea. In a recent interview that I heard with Viola Davis, where she commented on the criticism that The Help perpetuates stereotypical portrayals of African Americans, she suggested that in order to not let something become a cliché, one needs to humanize it. This issue of the EDUcadian is an attempt to do just that. In a 2.0 world, where we seem to be ever-connected, we need to work even harder to ensure that the substance of that connection is deep, genuine, and…human. Sure, we are ‘connected’ through social media, and that is an important thread within the fabric that makes us the Arcadia University Education community, but of equal importance is how we are connected philosophically, practically, and physically. That is what distinguishes us as Arcadia Education students, alumni, and partners.

Our vision is to be leaders in preparing individuals and communities in creating inclusive educational environments that facilitate learning to meet the challenges and opportunities within an ever-changing, global society. Our mission is to insure that students and practitioners engage in rigorous and personally meaningful experiences that cultivate creative and critical understandings related to the processes of teaching and learning. We are committed to providing philosophical, theoretical, technological and instructional frameworks to promote exemplary inclusive practice, scholarly inquiry and social justice advocacy across diverse educational contexts. In addition, we know and believe that great teachers and administrators are created through deep, consistent practice, coached by professors, classroom teachers, and supervisors. This issue highlights some of the interesting ways that we, collectively, live this mission and honor these beliefs, and in turn, forge human connections.

This issue of the EDUcadian highlights the important connection between the Education department and the School of Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE), launched in 2010 and now in full operation in King of Prussia. An interview with Dr. Erik Nelson, Dean of CAPE, discusses how the Department and CAPE share a common mission of providing high quality professional development experiences for our students. You will also meet Beth Specker, CAPE’s new Director of Educational Initiatives, who works closely with Department faculty, program coordinators, and colleagues at CAPE to promote programs that are housed at the King of Prussia Campus.

In addition, you will learn about new marketing efforts in the Department that are working to connect us to new students. We are upgrading the Department’s website both in style and in content. One feature will be audio and video recordings of current and former students and faculty discussing their work, their research, and their ideas about teaching and learning. These interviews, a few of which are included as links in this newsletter, tell a story of a Department focused on rich student-faculty relationships and deep fieldwork that sets Arcadia apart in the field of teacher education.

Other segments of the newsletter connect you to alumni, faculty research, and a new tradition: The Candlelight Reflection Ceremony, established to honor graduating undergraduate seniors. Finally, there is information about our upcoming, inaugural Education Department Colloquium. On March 29, from 5:30 pm – 8 pm, in the Commons Great Room, representatives from different stakeholding groups will engage with the audience in a lively and crucial discussion on the effects of Governor Corbett’s 2012 PA State Budget on schools, children, and communities across the Commonwealth.

We invite you to strengthen your connection with us. Haven’t been back to campus in a while? Come sit in on one of our classes and relive what makes you part of the Arcadia Education Department community. Got a great idea for how we could collaborate with you? The faculty would love to hear from you. Join us for our inaugural colloquium and lend your voice to that important debate. Let us know where you are and what you are up to so that we can support the great work that you are doing. Friend us on Facebook. Invite us to come visit. Together we can humanize this idea of connectivity, further strengthen what it means to be an Arcadian, and in the process, develop the next generation of great teachers.