Message from the Dean: Fall 2020

November 10, 2020
Fa20-TH-Dean-200

Dean Shanna Hagan-Burke

Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke
Dean, School of Education

It is an exciting time to be a part of Baylor University and an honor to have been appointed Dean of the School of Education. Despite arriving during the midst of a global pandemic, I have been met with the warm and welcoming spirit of the Baylor community. There is truly no place I would rather be, and no group of individuals I would rather serve.

As Baylor University seeks to join the ranks of R1 Doctoral Universities within the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the School of Education is uniquely positioned to make significant contributions to this pursuit. Likewise, the School of Education’s current research, teaching, and outreach activities are well aligned with the aspirations and initiatives of Illuminate, Baylor’s academic strategic plan.

In just a short time I have observed first-hand the pursuit of excellence and desire to meaningfully impact the lives of others. The talents and dedication of our faculty are reflected in exemplary undergraduate and graduate programs that focus on learning, leadership, human development, and well-being in a variety of educational and community contexts. The applied research and outreach agendas of our faculty are impacting our community, the state of Texas, and beyond. The relevance and quality of this work is resulting in marked gains in competitive external grant awards that increase Baylor’s contributions to science while allowing us to expand our service to others. One of my fundamental goals as Dean is to bring visibility — and thus more opportunity — to these important efforts. The School of Education is a treasure trove of talent, and I look forward to ensuring that others know of the extraordinary work that is being done.

To that end, I hope you enjoy this latest issue of Impact, brought to you digitally in 2020. These stories offer a snapshot of some of the school’s current activities — and reflect our expansion through the work of the Center for Christian Education and the new Dallas program to train School Psychologists. You will also enjoy learning how our faculty and students are faring during these challenging times of COVID-19, whether on Baylor’s campus or out in local schools. Many instructors are simultaneously addressing live and virtual student audiences in their classes, which requires considerable skill and patience. Likewise, our student teachers are often doing the same during their clinical experiences in schools. Students are also patiently juggling their Baylor course attendance modalities to comply with quarantine protocols and the need to self-isolate because of illness or exposure.

The tenacity and considerateness exhibited by students, faculty, and staff during this world-wide pandemic have been remarkable. All have been diligent in their efforts to avert the spread of the virus. Moreover, even in light of considerable challenges, there have been virtually no complaints! Everyone’s collective efforts have enabled us to experience a successful semester, and enrollments remain strong. Most of our students chose a career in education because they want to make a difference in the world, and their choice is a wise one; the vital role of educators has become even more apparent in these trying times.

As fall semester draws to an end, I am thankful for the many ways that God continues to bless the School of Education. I am also grateful for the grace and support that has been extended to me during the transition. Baylor University is truly a special place.