New Hires Unleash Opportunity for Leading Growth and Change

DSCN7221 vertical crop copyIn 2012, UConn President Susan Herbst announced an ambitious hiring plan to recruit and hire faculty who would have a significant impact on research, scholarship, and funding within and across schools and colleges at the university. As a result of this hiring initiative the Neag School of Education is now home to 17 new faculty—a mix of junior and senior faculty and recognized across the nation as top scholars in the field of education and workforce development.

Combining the Neag School ‘s outstanding new faculty hires with the school’s already nationally recognized faculty, and the possibilities of what the Neag School will accomplish with respect to meaningful, nationwide education reform are endless.

Building upon our strong reputation, the Neag School is poised to move to the next level—a level that will bring national prominence and stature to the Neag School.

“We have an incredible opportunity to re-envision how we move forward as a school as well as providing a leading voice to the national conversation about complex issues impacting the education community,” said Thomas C. DeFranco, Dean of the Neag School.

A pathway to accomplish this goal will involve administration, faculty, and staff in the development of a new trans-disciplinary academic vision that will allow Neag School faculty to work collaboratively in research teams with faculty across the school, the university and the nation. These teams will develop and study important research questions—questions that have national impact in education, and research and grant funding will coalesce around important themes such as, teacher and administrator preparation and effectiveness, evaluation, policy and advocacy, genomics, and creativity, emerging technologies and creativity and innovation in education, equity and social justice in education, STEM education and closing the achievement gap.

“Today, within the Neag School we are creating a new culture of intellectual curiosity, a culture that will value the generation of new and innovative ideas in the advancement of education and the workplace,” DeFranco explained.

It is envisioned that over time the Neag School will develop an Education Think Tank whose purpose is to become a leader in innovation and galvanize scholars across the nation to develop the next big ideas in education.

The Neag School team’s growth and efforts also have the potential to bring even greater national prominence and stature to the Neag School and UConn. Currently, the Neag School is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report as 17th among all public education graduate schools, and 28th among all private and public graduate schools of education. Further, specialty programs such as Elementary and Secondary Teacher Preparation, and Special Education, are ranked 18th and 12th respectively among over 1000 teacher preparation programs in the nation. Also, the Neag School’s Kinesiology Doctoral Program is leading the nation, currently ranked at No. 1.

“As a school we’re poised to move to the next level,” DeFranco said. “We believe that through our broad vision, our investment in faculty and a new research infrastructure system, we will provide a leading voice to the national conversation about complex issues impacting the education community.”

“Our goal will be to partner with leading experts from various backgrounds and from universities across the nation to study large research questions and ultimately make a positive difference in the lives of child and adults in Connecticut and throughout the nation.”