Dean’s Message

Together, we solve complex challenges at home and around the world

Dean Cheryl Achterberg

Your college has always been a leader in enhancing the human experience. With your help, your college harnesses multiple disciplines to serve communities both near and far.

This issue of Inspire shares details about faculty, staff and students who enthusiastically engage with alumni and other partners to improve lives. As dean, I see new creative endeavors emerge daily.

An outstanding example is our new Teacher Preparation Pipeline Scholarship program. We have long recognized the need for more high-quality learning for early childhood educators in Columbus. We also realize that women in local neighborhoods are interested in developing the skills needed to host high-quality early care in their homes.

In response, President Michael V. Drake announced that the university is dedicating $3.9 million to these scholarships for Columbus residents.

Over the next five years, 100 early childhood educators with associate’s degrees will finish their bachelor’s degrees for free. By the time you receive Inspire, the recipients for this coming academic year will be named.

Our partners are the Columbus Office of the Mayor, Columbus State Community College and Action for Children, which is Columbus’s information source for child care and early learning services.

You may ask why we’re so focused on Columbus. The reason, in part, is that scholarships will enhance our Early Head Start — Child Care Partnership, which is one of 275 federally funded programs expanding high-quality early learning in every state.

Our partnership provides holistic support — education, health and family stability —to children from birth to age two and their families in at-risk Columbus neighborhoods.

Led by EHE’s Schoenbaum Family Center at Weinland Park, we collaborate with more than a dozen local agencies, 12 licensed child care centers and six licensed home-based child care providers. Each year, 160 additional families are served.

With the scholarships, current Columbus teachers will extend their career paths. Families will benefit from having more highly educated teachers in their children’s early care centers.

Also in March, Deputy Assistant Secretary and White House representative Roberto Rodriguez from the Administration for Children and Families visited Columbus and blogged about our success.

“This partnership,” he wrote, “has made Columbus a beacon early learning community that truly ‘puts their babies first’.”

Taken together, the partnership and the pipeline scholarships work to ensure that Columbus-area children attending early childhood centers will be ready for kindergarten.

We boost their learning, their families’ well-being and their teachers’ expertise.