Dean's message in the spring 2019 College of Education Alumni Magazine

This edition of our Alumni Magazine is a bit different for me, as it is the last one listing me as dean of the College of Education. Reflecting on my 20 years in that role, I am deeply struck by how quickly the time has passed. As we get closer to June 30, the reality of stepping out of the role of dean is getting a little sharper and clearer to me. I’m looking forward to my work as a faculty member, but it is difficult to step away from the invigorating swirl that is part of being a dean at Penn State and the wonderful people I get to work with as dean.

David Monk Credit: Steve Tressler/Vista Print StudiosAll Rights Reserved.

As this magazine goes to press, the college is interviewing finalists for the new dean. We attracted a strong pool of candidates, and I’m confident that whomever is selected will be successful in continuing to strengthen the college.

The spring edition of our magazine traditionally celebrates success and achievement realized by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and there are some great stories to share. So many members of our college are doing meaningful, impactful work and realizing success for the benefit of themselves and others around them.

Our most recent example of student success is senior Rachel Shriver, who recently was named a Fulbright scholar. Starting in July, she will spend 10 months in Colombia, building on her highly immersive and engaged undergraduate experience. 

Our students not only excel in the classroom, they also engage in the local community and in other countries, seek out co-curricular activities that provide valuable leadership skills, and conduct research that truly expands the frontiers of knowledge. We use this issue to highlight a few of our remarkable students, including roommates Taylor Young and Carly Siegle, who are featured in our cover story. I hope you enjoy reading about them and our other high-achieving students.

Our faculty members also are doing notable work. You can read about a course faculty member Wendy Coduti created to teach about employment strategies for people with disabilities (page 6). The course is cross-listed in the School of Labor and Employment Relations and is designed to reach students going into the human resources industry as well as students enrolled in rehabilitation and human services.

Another faculty member, Efrain Marimon, is breaking new ground for the college and for Penn State in general with his work in restorative justice. Efrain recently brought together representatives from leading prison education and reentry programs from around the country; the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; the Pennsylvania Department of Education; and local officials in a two-day summit to develop a vision for the expansion of Penn State’s Prison Education and Reentry Initiative.

The College of Education has more than 57,000 living alumni, and quite a significant number are employed close to home in a wide variety of roles at Penn State. We posed the question: What do people at Penn State do with a College of Education degree? The answer, we found out, is “almost everything!” Hear from people in diverse jobs explaining how their College of Education degree helped them in their current fields, starting on page 10. We also have staff in the college who are working on degrees while employed full-time. Hear from some of them about how they balance work, family and school.

Normally, I’m aware of what’s going on in the college because of my role as dean. With my departure from that position, I plan to keep abreast of happenings in the College through our electronic newsletter, Bridges. Bridges is delivered to your email once every other week during the academic year, and once a month over the summer. If you are not already subscribed, I invite you to email and ask to be added to the subscription list.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve Penn State as one of its deans for 20 years, and I’m brimming over with good wishes to everyone in the College of Education!

Last Updated May 21, 2019