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UC Irvine to establish new school of education

The UC Board of Regents votes to create new school focused on K-12 teacher education

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: July 23, 2012 11:30 AM

Department of Education Chair
Prof. Deborah Vandell
In a move to formalize UC Irvine’s long history of creating well-qualified K-12 teachers and its wide range of education degree programs, the University of California Board of Regents voted last week to approved the creation of a new School of Education at the campus.

Originally created as the Office of Teacher Education in 1967, UCI’s Department of Education graduates an average of 250 prospective teachers each year, among the largest number of education grads of any campus in the UC system. The department offers a total of 14 graduate-level, undergrad and credential programs, including a Ph.D. in education.  

UCI Chancellor Michael Drake said the Regents’ decision is a credit to the university, and the new school will have far-reaching impacts in the area of education.

"This is well-deserved validation of the high-quality work by our faculty, students and staff in advancing both the theory and delivery of education at all levels," said UCI Chancellor Michael Drake. "They have pursued research that will help us continue to improve how we teach and care for our children. This is vital work. Effective and widely accessible education is the key to our future."

UCI’s teacher graduates are in high demand at K-12 facilities across the state; more than 90 percent of graduating teachers are recruited to teach in state classrooms, while approximately one third of the single-study program graduates receive teaching credentials in the areas of science or math, two subjects that are currently in great demand by schools.

The department’s class of 2012 includes the school’s first group of teachers to graduate under the Cal Teach program. The program is funded by the National Math & Science Initiative, and promotes the education and preparation of well-qualified math and science teachers for K-12 schools. The $1.4 million grant from the organization makes it possible for undergraduate students to earn a bachelor’s degree in math or science and a teaching credential at the same time, graduating within four years.

In their decision to approve the new school, the regents cited the education department’s strong doctoral programs and research labs. UCI’s Ph.D. program in education has been in place for five years, and draws students from around the world; the department also offers five other graduate-level degrees in education. The department also includes eight research labs, allowing for the focus on subjects ranging from new teaching strategies and technologies to student motivation and the effects of childcare on behavior and learning.

UCI’s education programs have enjoyed steady progress through the ranks of the U.S. News and World Report listings. It is currently the highest-ranked department of education included on the list’s top 50 graduate schools.

Dr. Susan V. Bryant, UCI’s interim executive vice chancellor and provost, said that the creation of the new school is largely due to the hard work of Prof. Deborah Vandell.

"As a result of the outstanding leadership of Deborah Vandell, who has served as education department chair since her appointment in 2006, we are starting a new and exciting chapter at UC Irvine," Bryant said. "She has successfully transformed the department into a school."

An internationally recognized scholar in the field of early childhood education, Vandell has authored more than 150 articles and co-authored two books on children’s education, the impact of after-school programs and children’s social relationships.

The naming of the dean of the new School of Education will come in the next few months.

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