The University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education Dean Dr. Richard Schwab is retiring after 12 years of holding the position, and the school is in the process of selecting his replacement.
The three candidates are Dr. Randy Bomer, a professor and education administration chair from the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Gladis Kersaint, associate dean of academic affairs and research for the college of education at the University of South Florida and Dr. Casey Cobb, associate dean of academic affairs for Neag.
The forums were situated so that candidates would begin with an explanation of challenges that schools of education, such as Neag, face, how the candidate would best address these issues, what innovative ideas they may have regarding education and how their background has best prepared them to take on the position. This was followed by a question and answer period with students and faculty.
“I am not an expert on your college,” Bomer said. “You are an expert on your college. This is not just a school of education, but a school of education at a flagship university.”
Bomer has published several papers and given lectures regarding economical differences between students.
“We have to be mindful of what we are not yet succeeding at in education,” Bomer said.
Connecticut has the second highest income between wealthiest and poorest individuals, relating greatly to divides in economic opportunities, according to the Connecticut Post.
“These certain groups (of students) are labeled underrepresented because they are underrepresented and that is unfair,” Cobb said. “So our goal is to diversify our students so that they become teachers and we have a more diversified teaching pool. We have a HWCU, or historically white college, and our school of education is also historically white.”
Cobb attributes these challenges to the “structural disadvantages and the cultural norms” that have developed as a result.
Kersaint has also worked on issues of education inequality and completed much research in increasing achievement of minorities in math and science, as well as ways to reform urban systems to provide better educational services.
The public forums are all published online and the link can be found through the Daily Digest. Students can complete a candidate feedback survey to help in the selection of a new dean.
Elizabeth Charash is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.