Dean's Message - Fall 2017

It was only a few hours’ drive up I-35 from Austin to Denton. But the transition to being dean at UNT has been a passage into a new world, like walking through the wardrobe portal in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. This university, especially the College of Education, is a welcoming place, a community full of people proud of who they are together and the amazing work each of them is doing, but very open-armed in embracing newcomers like me, new faculty members and new students. Still, it is, as I said, a new world, and as of this writing, I have lived through about 70 days of eye-opening experiences.

I knew, for instance, that UNT has great alumni, but until talking with Development Board leaders Cathy Bryce and Steve Waddell about their passion for the college, I had no idea that people held so much love for the life-transforming work of this university and the College of Education.

I knew about important, visible centers of excellence like the Child Development Lab and the Kristin Farmer Autism Center, but I didn’t know that the college also has a doctoral program in gifted education with more students than any other such program in the nation (Drs. Rinn, Kettler and Mun). I didn’t know that the Applied Physiology Lab has built a state-of-the-art laboratory rivaling some of the best in Texas and the region, through scrappy and inventive ways of securing funding and equipment (Drs. McFarlin, Vingren, Hill and Olson.)

I knew about the outstanding counseling program and the historic work in play therapy that has gone on there, but I didn’t know that the department also has four young faculty with deep and complementary strength in addiction counseling (Drs. Prosek, Giordano, Wilson and Schmit).  And I didn’t know yet about the multi-million dollar grants supporting work in culturally competent counseling for diverse populations (Drs. Wilson and Ceballos) or work in culturally responsive education of children who speak first languages other than English (Dr. Boyd).

These are only a few of the many discoveries I’ve encountered in my new world, and I take it as one of my jobs to bring these and other great stories to the attention of alumni and friends, partners in the mission of this great college.