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 Dean's Welcome

 
Greetings! Welcome Back! Welcome Ahead!
A message to Faculty and Students from Interim Dean, Dr. Dana Fusco

It was best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us . . .       
~Charles Dickens, 1859, The Tale of Two Cities

The times we are in today remind me of this passage. Of the fullness of life – challenging, at times, stressful but also full of hope and promise. I cannot wait to meet you all, to listen, to learn, to build and rebuild. We have much to do. We will succeed, we will stumble, we will grow, but most importantly, we will do it together.

Let’s make the Queens College, School of Education
the Place to Go, the Place to Grow, the Place to Glow


PRIORITIES
Queens College 
School of Education
the Place to Go, the Place to Grow, the Place to Glow 
A message to Faculty and Students from Interim Dean, Dana Fusco 
 
2021-2022 PRIORITIES 

#1. Navigating the Pandemic Environment 
Last year, we quickly moved to online teaching and learning. There were some hiccups along the way, to say the least, but by spring semester, thanks to the diligence of our faculty and support from the college, these kinks were ironed out and students were largely satisfied with their online classes. This coming year, navigating the continued pandemic also means transitioning back to some in-person activities. While the world moves closer to “normalcy,” our lives will be characterized by one word: hybrid. We will need to figure out how to balance in-person teaching and meetings with remote teaching and meetings. We will need to figure out how to navigate a world where some are vaccinated, and others are not. We will need to balance our desire to form community with our desire to remain comfortable in the confines of our homes. Please refer to my memo of August 24, 2021 that has further information and resources. 

#2. Starting a New Accreditation Cycle
You already know, the School of Education was recently accredited by CAEP. We are now in the 4th year of our next 7-year cycle. Our next self-study for both initial and advanced programs is due in spring 2025 and our next site visit will be fall 2025. We have made great progress this past year not only building but implementing our new Quality Assurance System (QAS) to address the stipulation in Standard 5. This year we begin our accreditation cycle anew starting with Standard 1 and including advanced programs {this will include addressing our SPAs}. We also must work to ensure that we are responding to the AFIs received for other standards (2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 4.1). Also, we will spend some time reflecting on our QAS and our data from last year to determine if actions are required that would help improve programs and candidate outcomes. Under the leadership of Sonia Rodrigues and myself, our stellar EAC group will take the lead on this work and continue our path to victory! 

#3. Strategic Planning Committee to be Established 
Last year, I established three Taskforces to address some apparent inconsistencies across the programs of the EPP. The Taskforces were charged with taking a deeper dive into three issues (Policies, Curriculum, and Clinical Experiences) and putting forth recommendations that would serve as the bedrock for strategic planning. We also received recommendations from the faculty-led Research Advisory Council and have some reflections on the first phase of our Equity Study to ponder. In total 95 faculty across the EPP, 18 school and community partners, 18 staff and 13 students participated this past year in our committees and taskforces, setting the stage for a strategic plan for the future of the School of Education. Each taskforce has delivered a report of their work. These are on our website and are open for comment until October 1st. 

Organizing the findings of these various groups into a cohesive framework that provides a roadmap for the School of Education is an important next step. I will be convening a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) that will begin its work in the Spring 2022. The goal is to have a three-to-five-year strategic plan that is aligned to the college’s strategic planning initiative and sets a vision and set of actions for the future of the School of Education. Please email me if you are interested in joining the SPC. Nominations are requested by November 1st. 

#4. Acting on Taskforce Recommendations Now 
We cannot wait for a Strategic Plan to continue our work, however. There are two recommendations that have come out of the taskforces that we must act upon this coming academic year: 1) the writing of admissions, progression and dismissal policies for undergraduate and graduate programs within and across the School of Education; and 2) the curricular revisions necessary to address the new NYSED regulations made by the Board of Regents to Section 52.21 of the Commissioner’s Regulations for full-time student teaching. We will need the help and engagement of our program coordinators and will work with and through the department chairs to determine how best to proceed with this work in the coming year. 

#5. The Will to Change Initiative: Becoming JEDI 
As you know by now, the Will to Change series encompasses a broad range of events such as social gatherings, lectures, and interactive discussions, as well as a series of intentional audits and activities aimed at identifying and addressing educational policies and practices that silence, marginalize, and disrespect students of color. Under The W2C Initiative, last year we hosted three lectures and conducted an Equity Study to examine practices and perspectives across the School of Education. 

We all understand that there is a growing awareness of the value of engaging with and learning from diverse perspectives and people as well as the need to evaluate and address systemic issues of inequity that continue to cause harm to certain groups over others. The Equity Study was meant to understand the broader climate of QCSOE as well as take a deeper dive into how as a School we understand, experience, and offer solutions to the vast array of issues that might fall under a JEDI frame (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Truong & Martinez, 2021). 

This coming year, we will continue the W2C lecture series as well as the Equity Study. In addition, through our partnership with CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform), the School of Education will begin to embed common understanding and implementation of inclusive practices in all programs in the EPP. CEEDAR is a national technical assistance center whose mission is to support students with disabilities in achieving college- and career-ready standards by building the capacity of state personnel preparation systems to prepare teachers and leaders to implement evidence-based practices within multi-tiered systems of support. 

#6. Restructuring of the School of Education
Finally, in order to accommodate the growing array of programs, accreditation requirements, and demands on our faculty and staff, I have decided to undergo some restructuring of our Offices. We will be creating a new office (tentatively named, the Office of Recruitment and Communications) to address our ongoing recruitment and marketing needs within the School of Education with a full-time HEO hire to assist and take the lead. This office will be responsible for assisting chairs, faculty and program coordinators with recruitment efforts including in-person events, articulation agreements, as well as all communications (website, brochures, social media). Second, our existing Office of Certification will be expanded to encompass not only handling post-graduation certification but career needs and alumni relations. Specifically, this Office will work with our Assessment team to track alumni into the P-12 classroom and school setting hence assessing impact on P-12 student learning. This office will tentatively be named, the Office of Graduate and Alumni Relations. The Restructuring will occur over a three-year period and be built into our Strategic Plan. 


If you have any suggestions, comments, questions or concerns, I would love to hear them! Please reach out. 

Best Wishes, 
Dr. Dana Fusco 
Interim Dean

REFLECTIONS

It is perhaps cliché to state that we live in a time of great uncertainty. Yet, maybe it bears repeating. Almost everything about our future is unknown: when will the current pandemic end? When will schools reopen? What will the “new normal” look like? Will we recover and heal from the wounds reopened time and time again by practices that are historically drenched in injustice and racism? Will we return to policies that perpetuate injustice? Will the racialized inequities of social class ever be named and held accountable? How do we create solutions that address the fact that inequalities are embedded in a thick social and cultural weave of intersectional forces?

Children and young people do not come to the classroom as blank slates on these issues. They watch the news; they are on social media; they hear the adults around them react to the headlines. They are taught how to think about, understand, and make meaning of events. Too often they un-learn the tender, naïve, and often much more humane responses of children and replace them with adult soundbites that often do little to unpack the profound complexities of social issues.

Many adults are locked into their own responses – emotional responses and intellectual ones. We often do little in the way of asking our young people what they are thinking and feeling, how they understand current issues, what they need to help them interpret and come to grips with current realities. Too often we offer quick solutions instead of opening up the world for their discovery, curiosity, interrogation, and creative expressions.

Critical thinking, creativity and compassion are the mindsets and heartset that should belie our pedagogical response. Education without these skills is just another seal on the closed minded and trapped thinking that too many adults and leaders are beholden to. The ability to ask questions, interrogate truths, be open minded, take on alternative perspectives, have empathy, be compassionate – these are the foundational cognitive, social and emotional skills that are needed to combat the toxic identities that are pervasive in American society today.

I invite us all to think about how we can unlock and unleash the potential of the next generation of educators and educational professionals, and by extension, children and youth. How are we supporting critical thinking, creativity and compassion in and outside of the classroom in order to create a just and inclusive democracy?


WAYS TO CONNECT WITH ME
  • Email me your input and ideas at SchoolofEdsuggestions@qc.cuny.edu
  • Feel free to get on my calendar for some one on one time
  • I will also host open meetings with various stakeholder groups
  • Once on campus, I will have open hours for faculty and students to stop by for some coffee and chat.

Best wishes for a safe, productive and exciting year,
Dean Fusco

Dr. Dana Fusco
Interim Dean
School of Education

 

 

 


 

 Office Information

 
Dana Fusco, Ph.D.

Interim Dean

School of Education

Queens College, CUNY
Powdermaker Hall, Room 100

65-30 Kissena Blvd.

Flushing, NY 11367

(718) 997-5220


We welcome your suggestions and feedback. Please email - SchoolofEdSuggestions@qc.cuny.edu


 
 
 
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