A dean’s farewell

Written by: Donald Heller

Primary Source : The Dean’s Blog, December 28, 2015

Dean Don Heller with his wife Anne Simon and Sparty

Dean Don Heller with his wife Anne Simon and Sparty

I have mixed feelings as I write my final blog post and column for the New Educator magazine. I will be leaving the university at the end of December and will be moving to a new position as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of San Francisco in January. I will greatly miss the faculty, staff and students in the Michigan State University College of Education with whom I have had the opportunity to work over the last four years, as well as the thousands of our alumni who I have had the chance to meet, both here on campus and around the globe. I am also very excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead of me.

As I look back on my time at Michigan State, I am very pleased and proud of what we have accomplished in our college. As the university has recovered from the economic recession that battered the country and the state, the college is in excellent shape, both financially as well as in the quality of our faculty endeavors and our students.

One of my proudest accomplishments is how we have increased the diversity of our faculty. Of the 44 tenure-system hires since I became dean, 17 (39 percent) are faculty of color; during this time period, the overall proportion of faculty of color in the college increased from 15 to 26 percent. Over 50 percent of the faculty members in the college are women; across the entire university only about one-third of faculty are women.

We have also made gains in diversifying our student body. In 2012, 13 percent of College of Education students were students of color; in 2015, this grew to 16 percent—a small, but important increase. As our nation becomes more diverse racially and ethnically, it is critical that the next generation of education and health professionals we are training reflect this diversity.

Our college has also made great strides in our research and engagement activities around the globe, with these new initiatives begun or greatly expanded in recent years:

External validation of our efforts has come in the form of the college’s U.S. News & World Report ranking, which has increased from 17th before my arrival to 13th this year. Faculty members in the college have been awarded the editorship of two internationally renowned journals: the Journal of Teacher Education and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Our students continue to be in high demand; 96 percent of our most recent graduates in both teacher education and kinesiology were either employed or enrolled in graduate school in the year after completing their degrees.

As I depart East Lansing to head west to new adventures (and warmer climes!), I am proud of the accomplishments of the over 5,000 faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, along with our 55,000 alumni. They all truly embody the spirit of the university, that Spartans Will.

The following two tabs change content below.
Donald Heller
Donald E. Heller is Dean of the College of Education and a professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. Prior to his appointment in January, 2012, he was Director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education and professor of education and senior scientist at The Pennsylvania State University. He also has held a faculty appointment at the University of Michigan. His teaching and research is in the areas of educational economics, public policy, and finance, with a primary focus on issues of college access and choice for low-income and minority students. He has consulted on higher education policy issues with university systems and policymaking organizations in California, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Washington, Washington DC, and West Virginia, and has testified in front of Congressional committees, state legislatures, and in federal court cases as an expert witness. Before his academic career, he spent a decade as an information technology manager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Donald Heller

Latest posts by Donald Heller (see all)