Clarion University President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson announced today that the university will relaunch the School of Education as a freestanding entity, effective July 1. It is currently a part of the College of Arts, Education and Sciences. Dr. Gwyneth Price, who has led the school as director for two years, has been named dean.
The decision is the result of ongoing dialogue since Pehrsson's arrival last July. Price's leadership and innovative thinking in working with the faculty and staff in both education and special education departments helped to move the discussion forward. As dean, Price will oversee the school's budget, curriculum and scheduling decisions, and she will make personnel decisions.
"We are proud of our tradition in providing cutting-edge programs to educate future teachers, such as following best practices and going beyond state mandates for certifying special education teachers," Pehrsson said. "That put Clarion ahead of the curve when the commonwealth reversed 2008 legislation dividing certification into two age groups."
"I see us broadening our horizons in terms of keeping the kernels of solid, evidence-based teacher preparation, then expanding that to embrace innovation," Price said. "We have confidence that what we've been teaching historically has been the right thing, but we also have confidence that our faculty engage in research and continually update what they're doing. We have been on the forefront of developing programming that prepares graduates to be better teachers of all students."
"Under Gwen's leadership, the School of Education can develop a strategic plan specific to education. This is necessary to be able to address the existing teacher shortage in special education, math and sciences, and the looming teacher shortage in all areas," said Dr. Pam Gent, provost. "It is also necessary as we begin to pilot new and innovative ways to educate future teachers. Gwen is a strong and talented leader who understands this and is willing to lead our teacher education programs to meet the challenges of the next generation of learners."
The launching of the School of Education aligns with the university's True North Initiative and its six priorities for moving the university forward. It builds on the momentum gained through 150 years of consistent excellence in teacher preparation and development of new programming. Clarion University is one of 17 universities in Pennsylvania with national accreditation, boasting 15 nationally recognized programs, and has one of six special education reading programs in the state with International Dyslexia accreditation.
Clarion University is leading the way on many efforts. The School of Education has one of the first early childhood education programs in the state to implement a full-year teacher residency, which will begin this fall. Student teaching will be done the entire last year of the program, with coursework integrated into the student teaching experience. It is the only university in Pennsylvania authorized to offer Competent Learner Model courses for college credit and Clarion led the development of and was the first school to offer the Skills for Teacher Leadership Endorsement. Additionally, the innovative intervention specialist program boasts a 100 percent employment rate.
"There are schools that will hire Clarion graduates before any others," Price said. Clarion University has more than 15,000 education alumni.
Price earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in educational psychology from Penn State and earned her B.A. in chemistry from Bucknell University.
Clarion University School of Education offers programs for master's, bachelor's and associate degrees, as well as specialized certificates and endorsements.
For information visit the School of Education webpage.