As the 2016-2017 academic year draws to a close, I’m pleased to share recent developments and accomplishments. In April we received state approval for all of our educator preparation programs from the Connecticut State Board of Education. At the national level our College is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Currently we are preparing for a CAEP onsite review, scheduled for February 2018.
In August 2016 we received national recognition for our teacher education programs in elementary education (Childhood Education International), as well as for secondary education programs in Spanish (American Council for Teaching of Foreign Languages), and social studies (National Council for the Social Studies). Our advanced program in literacy education also earned national recognition (International Literacy Association). These programs join our programs in secondary English (National Council of Teachers of English) and educational leadership and supervision (Educational Leadership Constituent Council) in being so recognized. Our programs in secondary science and mathematics education are currently in process with the National Science Teachers Association and the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics.
We are delighted that six new professors joined our College in August. We sought to appoint professors with advanced degrees, who also possess current and relevant experience in the P-12 schools.
- Dr. David Title specializes in educational leadership. He holds a doctorate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, and until this summer he was Superintendent of the Fairfield Public Schools.
- Dr. Mark Frizzell also specializes in educational leadership. His degree is from the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. Until this summer he was Principal of Griswold High School. Dr. Frizzell teaches primarily at our Griswold campus.
- Dr. Cynthia Dieterich joins us from Cleveland State University, where she served as Assistant Professor of Special Education. She holds a doctorate from Kent State University. Dr. Dieterich is a former special education teacher in Cleveland, Ohio, and recently served as a special education consultant to schools and agencies in Virginia and Ohio.
- Ms. Lauren Rapacki specializes in math education at elementary and secondary levels. She will earn her doctorate from Indiana University this fall. A math teacher with extensive experience, for the past two years she was math coach and consultant at Highland Park Elementary School in Bloomington, Indiana.
- Dr. Susan Ringler Pet joins us from Central Connecticut State University where she was assistant professor; she holds a doctorate from the University of Connecticut. She specializes in English, elementary, and literacy education. A former elementary teacher in Enfield, NH, Dr. Ringler Pet has served as an instructor at secondary and university levels in Connecticut, New York, and New Hampshire.
- Dr. Eric Freedman joins us from Millennium High School in New Your City; he earned his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. A specialist in social studies education, Dr. Freedman was also an assistant professor at Adelphi University.
In spring 2017 we invited five applicants to campus, for assistant professor positions in elementary education and science education.
Our graduate programs are configured to meet the busy schedules of our students, many of whom are changing careers or are practicing teachers already. We also offer a popular Five Year Program for aspiring teachers who begin as SHU undergraduates. We have improved our system for gathering information on student performance, which allows us to make continuous improvements to each of our programs. And we ensure, in our field and clinical placements, that our students hone their skills in schools and classrooms in a variety of diverse settings. New for 2016-2017, our Taskstream software package supports our assessment and accreditation needs.
Our College, in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, offers Noyce Scholarships for those interested in teaching biology or mathematics at the middle school or high school level. Sophomores, apply now! These prestigious scholarships are funded through the National Science Foundation (SHU secured this $1.2 million grant last spring). The program meets 100 percent of financial need for students in their junior, senior, and graduate student years. Education Prof. Bonnie Maur and Biology Prof. Mark Beekey coordinate this program, which addresses the critical shortage of math and science teachers in Connecticut.
Horizons at SHU, an academic enrichment program for children residing in the City of Bridgeport, is gearing up for another successful summer. Several of our graduates and current pre-service teachers serve the program in various capacities; we offer two courses this summer in reading instruction, in which our candidates work one-on-one with struggling readers at Horizons. The courses, taught by Professor Thom Pesce, build the children’s skills and cultivate enthusiasm for reading. Jeff Rumpf serves as Horizons at SHU’s executive director; he is assisted by Program Director Jennifer Hernandez and Grants Specialist Barbara Lee.
Our new undergraduate major in Interdisciplinary Studies is completing its first year, with 44 students enrolled, all of whom are aspiring elementary teachers. This major provides its students with a balanced set of courses in the arts and sciences—English, history, political science, geography, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics—as well as the opportunity to explore one of the aforementioned areas in depth. Together with the SHU core requirements for the bachelor’s degree, Interdisciplinary Studies provides graduates with the necessary foundation for successful teaching of academic content in the elementary schools.
The motto of our college is “Promoting a Culture of Excellence in a Changing World.” Both the University and the Farrington College of Education are proud of our commitment to our students and our hands-on, individualized approach to their needs. This year, our students can anticipate instruction and guidance for them to reach their goals as sought-after educators in their chosen professional fields. All of us—administrators, professors, clinical supervisors, cooperating teachers, and educator candidates—consider the success of our K-12 students to be priority number one.
Thomas Forget, Ph.D.