As I look back on my decade as dean, I think of the many mentors who helped me in my career. My fourth-grade teacher, Jean Harris, helped me master reading at a late age. Dean Hurd taught me chemistry and physics in high school and modeled how a Renaissance mind looks and works.
Colin Martindale, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Maine, was a math and music wizard, and Joe Novak at Cornell inspired me toward a career in education, to name just a few.
Every one of these folks was important in my life because they believed in me. Through their belief and encouragement, they helped me reimagine what I could be and do in the future.
They stretched my mind and reshaped possibilities. Mr. Hurd helped his students appreciate integrative thinking, the blending of poetry and physics. Dr. Martindale was simply a genius; he was fun, and he made me feel smart, which meant a lot then in the back woods of Maine. Dr. Novak modeled the love of inquiry and students.
All of them shared their own life stories, dreams and aspirations with me. Their observations and lessons learned, along with many of their values, were incorporated into my own worldview.
Every one of my mentors reinforced the conviction for me that mentoring matters. I am grateful for what they gave to me, and I hope I have given at least half as much to others with whom I have been privileged to work.
One of the best things that Martindale said to me is that “Knowledge is for sale; wisdom is given for free.” As I say farewell to my role as dean, I hope that I can continue to give away what wisdom I have collected.
Ten highlights: What we did together in a decade
- Revived the undergraduate teaching degree for teacher licensure
- Launched the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy
- Directed more than 1,500 projects funded by more than $300 million in government grants
- Received three of the largest government program grants outside medicine to date
- Established a new facility for Star House, the only research-based drop-in center for homeless youth in the United States, and spun off operations to the community while research continues
- Raised $62 million in five years, breaking college records, thanks to donors
- Revitalized the Weinland Park neighborhood through the Schoenbaum Family Center and community partners
- Gave $13.5 million in scholarships to more than 5,000 EHE students
- Created Hospitality Listens with students hosting a night out for children on the autism spectrum and their families
- Helped 62,000 first-graders struggling to read catch up with peers and supported reading for 360,000 more K-12 students nationwide using Reading Recovery
Dean, College of Education
and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University