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Dr. Mike Trevisan

Dean's Perspectives

From teaching to learning: “We do stuff in class”

A.G. Rud

It’s true that pedagogy is shifting from a teaching to a learning model, from the “sage on the stage to the guide on the side.”  But social and constructivist learning theories have not permeated all classrooms. Many of us still just teach rather than create environments where learning can take place.

That is why I am pleased that WSU has become the first institution on the West Coast, and only the fourth in the nation, to be designated a Project Lead the Way affiliate in the biosciences. Students are pleased, too, with the chance for hands-on biomedical education that the nationally recognized K-12 program provides. In the words of one high schooler quoted in a WSU article, “We actually do stuff in class.”

We at the College of Education are particularly excited to be involved in the growing biomedical education venture under way on Spokane’s Riverpoint campus.  Our academic director there, Joan Kingrey, and her colleagues are heading up Project Lead the Way. WSU’s College of Nursing and College of Pharmacy also are exploring ways to better teach their students through similar pedagogies. It is a terrific, inter-college synergy occurring on the nation’s next great medical sciences campus.

Budget cuts, plus a guide for the future

A.G. Rud

Whew. After a lot of hard number crunching, the college leadership team has, once again, cut the College of Education budget. We accomplished this mostly by giving up some vacant positions and shifting expenses to non-state funding.

At Provost Warwick Bayly’s request, we made a  $300,000 permanent reduction (4.58 percent) that was effective July 1, 2010, and a $322,803 temporary reduction (4.92 percent) that was effective October 1, 2010.  Yes, some of the reductions are retroactive, which are tricky to manage. You can read the details on the WSU budget pages.  The college leadership team invites you to send comments using this survey.

The avalanche of state recession woes being what it is, we can only take a breather before we start planning for the next round of discussions and cutbacks in the 2011-2013 budget cycle. Fortunately, we’ll have something to guide us: a realignment plan to keep us focused on the future and ensure our college is in sync with Washington State University’s goals.

The realignment plan, created by the college leadership team, is in draft form. We’ll be gathering comment on it this month. It has four guiding principles: Emphasis on research and development,  significance of graduate education, importance of state and national impact, and value of institutional collaboration. It mentions many ways to put those principles into action, such as hiring a grant coordinator, increasing our online program offerings, and positioning WSU as the state’s leading teacher preparation program related to K-8 math and science education.

The plan affects every program we offer, ranging from counseling psychology to kinesiology.  I encourage you to read the realignment plan — keeping in mind, please, that it is a draft. It represents our best thinking at the moment.

Meanwhile, I intend to make the most of my first winter holidays in Washington. I hope the season brings you happiness and hope.