School of Education
MISSION: To create knowledge and support education, health and wellness professionals to serve in a diverse world.
VISION: Transforming lives to optimize human potential.
STRATEGIC PLAN SUMMARY: The School of Education will continue to work toward the goals and priorities discussed above. In the near future, we hope to be able to launch the Mary Ann Manning Family Literacy Center, which will bring together expertise from many areas of literacy in an effort to provide services for children and families in the community, state, region and globally. We also hope to launch a new graduate certificate in health education and a minor in human services, and provide a degree option for our existing graduate certificate in school psychometry.
The School of Education strategic plan is grounded in twin pillars that highlight areas of strength and opportunity for the school: 1) Health, Wellness and Education across the Lifespan; and 2) Diversity Issues in the Preparation of Education and Health Professionals. These pillars reflect the School of Education’s mission, and address areas of recognized need, locally, nationally and globally.
The Health, Wellness and Education pillar focuses on physical and cognitive health and wellness issues across the life span, and embraces areas such as exercise science, community health, mental health and pedagogical strategies that promote academic achievement. This pillar acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between health and education.
The Diversity Issues pillar focuses on preparing education and health professionals to effectively serve culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, individuals with disabilities, and individuals in high-poverty contexts. This pillar embraces emerging areas such as the preparation of professionals to address health and education disparities. These are areas of increasing significance in our diverse society.
Two cross-cutting themes support the twin pillars of the School of Education’s strategic plan and permeate the associated work. These cross-cutting themes, Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Technology Integration, serve as facilitators and enablers that shape the lens through which issues within the pillars can be approached. They are also vehicles through which success can be leveraged.
The cross-cutting theme of Interdisciplinary Collaboration reflects the approach that School of Education faculty and staff take in the pursuit of activities related to the above pillars. Such collaboration involves working closely with other faculty and staff across campus, as well as with school district and community partners. It is through interdisciplinary collaboration that the synergy that supports innovation and excellence can thrive.
The cross-cutting theme of Technology Integration both shapes and enables each of the twin pillars. For example, areas such as cyberbullying and the integration of technology into P-12 pedagogy emerge in the context of mental and cognitive wellness issues. Likewise, disparities in terms of access to technology can surface with respect to diversity issues. Technology Integration also is an important enabler that amplifies our efforts within the pillars. For example, the use of technology in our research, as well as in the delivery of instruction, helps to expand our capacity with each pillar.
Facilitate a Positive, Balanced and Productive Work Environment
- As one means of facilitating a productive work environment, the School of Education is working toward the differentiation of faculty workload, and linking this differentiation to the accountability system. We are currently piloting a workload planning system whereby faculty work with department chairs in late spring to identify the major activities they plan to pursue in support of the unit’s goals with respect to teaching, research and service during the upcoming academic year. With the agreement of department chairs, the successful completion of these plans will guide the merit-distribution process. A one-course reduction to the typical teaching load is being made available to faculty members who are highly productive in the areas of scholarly publications and/or grant writing. This will facilitate our priority of raising our scholarship profile by increasing extramural funding and refereed publications.
Innovate in Research, Teaching and Service
- An important priority under this goal is the generation and validation of innovative models for the preparation of professionals to serve diverse communities. For example, in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education will launch UABTeach in the fall, which is an innovative program designed to prepare mathematics and science teachers. It is supported by funds from the UTeach Institute, the National Math and Science Initiative, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The School of Education’s Innovative Learning Collaborative also is a promising model that brings together university faculty and school district personnel in addressing teaching and learning in both contexts. Additionally, the School of Education also is working toward the establishment of a Ph.D. program in Educational Studies in Diverse Populations. This program would be the only one of its kind in the state, and would be designed to prepare professionals who can conduct research and lead innovation that enhances educational and life outcomes for diverse populations.
Establish Our Brand
- In order to enhance our competitiveness and distinguish ourselves from others, it is important for us to delineate and communicate our brand. This will assist us with our priority of enhancing our enrollment and credit hour production. As a part of this effort, we are working to increase the accessibility of our programs and extend our reach by enhancing our online offerings.