Clarion University School of Education will return to college status as part of the newly formed College of Education, Health and Human Services, effective July 1. Dr. Gwyneth Price, education dean, has been named dean of the college.
Dr. Jeffery Allen, founding dean of the College of Health and Human Services, has accepted a position at Youngstown State University. His departure created an opportunity for Clarion to examine how best to serve students, as well as to align with a recommendation of the university's Financial Sustainability Advisory Taskforce to streamline administration.
"In March 2020, I commissioned the taskforce in response to the PASSHE chancellor's mandate for all of its member institutions to create a five-year financial sustainability plan," President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson said. "The group, made up of a cross-section of faculty, staff and students, was charged with developing a plan which would stabilize Clarion's financial position while keeping the student experience at the forefront of this work. This is an excellent example of how the bright, creative minds at Clarion University can create an opportunity from a challenge."
Price was director of the School of Education before being named dean of the school a year ago. The renewed vigor of the education program under her leadership warrants the elevation from school to college.
"Clarion University was established as a normal school over 150 years ago. With such a long tradition of preparing teachers, it is only right to elevate the School of Education back to college status," Price said. "Since my arrival as director in 2017, I have been working toward this goal. With the forward thinking of Dr. Pehrsson and (provost) Dr. Pam Gent, that goal has been realized, but in way that allows for even more opportunity than I had originally anticipated."
Price and Gent agree that merging the School of Education with the College of Education, Health and Human Services, a college with many accredited and growing programs, has the potential to open new doors for students.
"The inception of the College of Education, Health, and Human Services allows for novel synergies to arise among a variety of programs in the helping professions," she said. Helping professions are those that emphasize the physical, health and wellness, intellectual, or psychological needs of a person.
"The students, faculty and staff share a similar interest in helping people, and to do so, the focus must be on the whole person," Gent said. "The College of Education, Health and Human Services will create additional opportunities for collaboration, helping us to better develop professionals who are knowledgeable about all aspects of the person. The faculty share a similar commitment to teaching students in real-world, field-based settings so they will be able to perform their jobs ethically and with a high degree of proficiency."
Gent is confident that the College of Education, Health and Human Services will thrive under Price's leadership.
"Dr. Price is a proven and accomplished leader who understands accreditation for professional licensure and certification," Gent said. "She embraces field-based and clinical-based education and the community partnerships needed to provide such education for our students. She is well versed in curriculum development and professional development, and educating traditional-age students as well as adult learners in both face-to-face and online settings. She is collaborative and brings people together to facilitate innovation and creative solutions."
"I am excited and humbled to be asked to facilitate the work of tremendous faculty members across a range of programs who strive every day to provide students with the education they need to gain employment in vital fields such as teaching, counseling, speech pathology and nursing," Price said. "As we enter a new age in this evolving society, it is now up to the College of Education, Health and Human Services to develop innovative ways to integrate these fields to provide students the flexibility and uniqueness they need to separate themselves in the marketplace."