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Press Release: UMass Board of Trustees Approves New School At UMass Dartmouth


UMass Board of Trustees Approves New School At UMass Dartmouth

New School of Education, Public Policy and Civic Engagement

Author:  John Hoey
Date:  June 12, 2008
Department:   News & Public Information
The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees today approved the creation of a new School of Education, Public Policy and Civic Engagement at UMass Dartmouth. The new school will bring teaching, research and community outreach assets from across the campus together to focus on challenges facing southeastern Massachusetts.

"This new school will mobilize and re-organize university faculty and staff to confront the economic and social challenges facing the citizens and communities of our region and the Commonwealth," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack, who co-chairs the Massachusetts Campus Compact, which promotes civic engagement by colleges and universities. "We are now positioned to develop new and innovative solutions to our fundamental problems, starting with the relatively low educational attainment levels in our region."

A team of faculty, staff, administrators, and community education leaders held numerous discussions leading to the final design of the school. All were invited to the table because they share concern about area dropout rates (exceeding 35 percent in New Bedford and Fall River) and low educational attainment in the region (college graduation rate of 23 percent compared to 35 percent statewide). The new school is intended to complement and not compete with the undergraduate education programs at Bridgewater State College.

The School will be comprised of the following units:

* The Teaching and Learning Department will have major responsibility for the minor in education, teacher licensure program, and the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. This department will also coordinate the state certification process for educational programs and work closely with the art education and music education programs in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

* The Education Leadership Department will be responsible for the Learning to Lead program done in partnership with the Charlton College of Business; which is developing the next generation of school leaders. This department will also build in-service, school-based offerings in leadership and be responsible for future masters/doctoral program development.

* The Center for School and University Partnerships (CUSP) connects the university to K-12 schools by providing professional learning experiences for beginning and experienced K-12 teachers; to strengthen their content knowledge, broaden their teaching practices and curricula, and help them acquire leadership skills necessary to improve schools and student achievement. The Center has received $4.8 million in federal and other external funding. Key areas of focus for this department are: new teacher mentoring, accelerated math and science teacher licensure, school principal licensure, inter-district professional development programs for teachers, school improvement plans, and alignment of curriculum and standards.

* The Policy Studies Department (PSD) will continue to offer the Masters of Public Policy (MPP), and undergraduate policy studies Minor, and the joint JD/MPP program with the Southern New England School of Law. It will  also develop the online version of  its Masters program. The Policy Studies Department will also develop a concentration in educational policy concentration to be delivered jointly with the Educational Leadership Department.

* The Center for Policy Analysis (CPA) -- This interdisciplinary research unit promotes economic, social, and political development by providing research and technical assistance to client organizations, including school systems, municipalities, and state agencies.  The Center offers custom designed research and technical analysis in the areas of economic development, public management, program evaluation and public opinion research for government agencies, non-profit organizations, private businesses, and educational institutions. The Center for Policy Analysis trains students in the techniques of applied social science and focuses on economic development, especially in the older cities of Massachusetts.

* STEM Department -- This interdisciplinary department focuses on the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) will assume responsibility for serving K-12 educators seeking an initial or professional license as teachers of Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics or General Science. This department will strengthen the quality of STEM education and research, as well as advance the university's STEM related scholarship. This department will propose during 2008, a PHD program in Math Education research based on the highly successful externally-funded($4M-$6M) research work of James Kaput and his colleagues.

* A Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) will be established to support the strategic plan goal of requiring by 2012 that every student at UMass Dartmouth have meaningful service learning courses prior to graduation.  Modeled after the very successful center at Tufts University, the mission of the Center will be to enhance student learning through the application of concepts, content and skills drawn from their academic disciplines while meeting a need in a community, civic, or non-profit organization. The School, with the support of the Center, will develop a new undergraduate minor program in Leadership/Civic Engagement with courses and community based programs focused on fostering civic engagement and community service by students.  
 

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