This spring, we are navigating challenging times at the University, and across the globe, as we adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. During these difficult times, I have encouraged our college community to recognize that challenges often present valuable opportunities. The most immediate has been the opportunity to develop creative and effective ways to utilize instructional technologies, and to learn from these efforts so they can inform and transform methods of teaching and learning for years to come. But we are also faced with broader opportunities to reflect on ourselves, our relationships, and our world – so that we come out of this experience with a renewed appreciation for our health and wellness, for the importance of education and educators, and for one another.
On Monday, March 30th, we began virtual teaching and learning throughout the College of Education and the university. While our bustling campus has quieted over the past two weeks, our faculty and staff have been working diligently to design and launch engaging online instruction.
Our teacher educators are collaborating with our partner school systems to create innovative virtual internship activities that will prepare future educators to work effectively in online environments. This transition has gone smoothly and reflects the deep commitment of our faculty and staff to delivering high-quality, meaningful and formative learning experiences for our students. Our faculty are also working on research projects directly related to COVID-19, and our College is mobilizing support for teachers, parents, and students in our local school systems.
Additionally, many spring events have been postponed due to the campus closure, including our planned Dean's Lecture on Education and Society: A Centennial Celebration. We will be rescheduling the event for next academic year and will update you once we have the new date.
While we grapple with the significant challenges in our midst, it’s also important to recognize and celebrate the good news around us. Our College's performance in the latest release of the U.S. News & World Report rankings is a tremendous accomplishment. We jumped 6 spots as a College, and we continue to have 9 ranked programs, with 5 increasing in their ranking this year. We are clearly making great progress and I am so proud of how members of this College community are working together toward the shared goals and values articulated in our strategic plan. Through our cutting-edge research, our innovative instructional programs, and our strategic partnerships, we are making a difference in the fields of education and human development, and in our schools, communities, and world.
Finally, this February, Dr. Darryl Pines, the current dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, was appointed as the next president of the University of Maryland. I was delighted to learn of his nomination, as Dr. Pines is exactly the kind of leader that our campus needs as we enter this next chapter. I am confident that his visionary leadership and commitment to a diverse and inclusive community of excellence will take us to the next level as a university.
I hope in the days ahead, you remain safe and well and recognize the opportunities presented by these challenging times.
Jennifer King Rice Dean and Professor University of Maryland College of Education