Dean's Letter | 2018-2019 Impact Report
Southwest Texas State Normal School was chartered in 1899 with the mission of preparing the highest quality teachers in Texas. One hundred and twenty years later, we are celebrating an unbroken line of students who have come to this university on a hill across generations with the goal of becoming exceptional educators. Over these twelve decades of the College of Education’s history, we have also expanded our expertise and academic programs into mental and physical health and well-being, adult and higher education, and all aspects of K-12 school district professionals, from principal and superintendent preparation to school counselor certification. As we reflect on our rich history, I am excited to bring you this report that is full of stories of a College of Education committed to quality teaching and education for all students while also having come into its own as a major research center.
I am proud that our college is currently more representative of the diverse communities of Texas than it has ever been. Our College of Education has become a pathway to meaningful careers for learners who work together across a wide range of cultures and life experiences. To ensure that we are serving all of our students in a community of inclusive excellence, we have embarked on an equity audit led by our new Dean’s Fellows. This project involves a college-wide review of student success indicators in order to enhance quality and relevant academic engagement and learning support opportunities for all of our students.
Investing in our students also means responsibly developing our degree programs to ensure that our graduates are prepared to meet current and evolving workforce needs, and to become leaders in their fields. For example, our new Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health and Master’s of Science in Public Health Education and Promotion degrees feature contemporary curricula that prepare students to pursue careers in public health promotion in nonprofit organizations, government agencies and private businesses. We are also addressing the critical shortage of special education teachers across the U.S. through our participation as one of only ten universities selected nationally for membership in The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community. In this four-year initiative, our faculty are working to substantively increase both the number and diversity of highly qualified special education teachers.
Our students’ classroom experiences are supplemented by the research that our faculty are conducting across the world. This year alone, three faculty members embarked on prestigious Fulbright appointments to Italy, Malaysia and Vietnam, while others conducted immersive study abroad experiences in Cambodia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and South Korea. Our LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research has placed educators at every NASA research facility nationwide, one of whom brought educational opportunities to universities in Puerto Rico following devastation from Hurricane Maria. Faculty research and educational outreach is supported by key partners, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Texas Workforce Commission, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and the Office of Special Education Programs, and Raise Your Hand Texas.
Since 1899, our college has become a leader in the preparation of Spanish-English bilingual teachers and bilingual school psychologists; in cardiovascular, neuromuscular and applied physiology research; in autism and professional counseling services; in culturally responsive community engagement; and much more. This year we are celebrating the fact that our doctoral programs produce both the highest number and most diverse group of Ph.D. graduates on campus, the opening of a new concussion research lab, and 25 years of education excellence for both our Teacher Fellows program and Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award.
These achievements are just some of the many aspects of our college that make our alumni proud, and their support is one of the most encouraging forms of feedback we receive as educators. This past June, we hosted the first in a series of College of Education regional alumni receptions around the state, during which I had the pleasure of meeting many of our alumni in the Houston area. I was inspired to hear about their positive experiences at Texas State and their professional and civic accomplishments over the years. As we move into the new academic year, I look forward to continuing to connect with our alumni around Texas.
Thank you for your interest in, and support of, our College of Education. I invite you to explore our ongoing story across the following pages, and to partner with us is advancing human potential for all.
Dr. Michael P. O'Malley
Dean, College of Education