Sometimes when emails are sent to me by individuals outside the university, they end up in a "spam filter" that is designed to protect faculty and staff from unwanted messages. I often skip over those emails caught in the filter, but fortunately I opened and read one such message that I received a few days after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
From the Dean
It came from Kat Posada, a teacher at the school and an IU alum, who asked me if it might be possible for her to communicate with our pre-service teachers and to offer support for those young people who have identified teaching as their chosen profession. Her modest request became an emotionally powerful event that not only brought Kat's message to us but promoted critical dialogue in the School on the issue of gun violence and school safety. While we share the grief of those directly affected by the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, we are grateful to Kat who helped us create something positive out of this tragedy.
It has been the greatest honor of my educational career to serve as dean and my experience in this position assures me that a bright future lies ahead as the School welcomes new leadership to advance its mission in the years to come.
I am writing these comments as I fly home from Kosovo where I met with representatives of the U.S. State Department-funded Transformational Leadership Program at the University of Prishtina for which the IU School of Education serves as a key partner. During my stay I gave a talk on "Leading a School of Education in These Times: The Art and Science of Being Dean." I purposefully included "in these times" in the title because I wanted to emphasize that being an education dean, or anyone else in the field of education these days, requires facing extraordinary challenges; diminished public support for education, poor working conditions in schools and low teacher morale, the plague of school violence, and the persistent inequities in access and opportunity for students from underrepresented groups, to name a few.
In the pages of the current issue of Chalkboard you will read about how the IU School of Education is addressing some of the enduring problems that schools confront. I hope that you are as inspired as I am by the work that our faculty, staff, and students are doing and the impact they are having on the field of education and society as a whole.
You will also see that the university has reopened its search for a dean for the School of Education here at IUB. Let me take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported and encouraged me during my time in the dean's office and to extend my best wishes to the members of the Hoosier education community who I have met in my travels around the country and the globe. It has been the greatest honor of my educational career to serve as dean and my experience in this position assures me that a bright future lies ahead as the School welcomes new leadership to advance its mission in the years to come.
Terrence C. Mason
Dean, IU School of Education