Message from the Dean: Spring 2021

May 14, 2021
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Dean Shanna Hagan-Burke

Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke
Dean, School of Education

The School of Education has been advancing Baylor’s Christian mission and shaping students’ futures for more than 100 years through exemplary academic programming and cutting-edge research and outreach. And we are growing, with enrollments exceeding 1,000 students across 17 academic programs focused on leadership, learning, and human flourishing. Our award-winning teacher preparation programs continue to enjoy national recognition as they launch Baylor graduates worldwide. Likewise, the school’s graduate programs are expanding in both size and notoriety, producing the next generation of leaders and scholars across a variety of disciplines focused on education and human development.

The School’s research expenditures are also on the rise, as more faculty are awarded extramural funding to support applied research and outreach endeavors that advance our mission. The role of research in academia can be misunderstood as an ivory-tower pursuit, but securing external resources is integral to having meaningful societal impact. Equally important, faculty research is enhancing the educational experiences of our students while enabling them to witness the benefit to countless individuals. To that end, the School of Education’s primary mission remains unchanged. We will always be committed to the Baylor student experience. We will never forget the “why” of being a Baylor educator — “to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”

This issue of Impact is notable for the sheer volume of accolades to be celebrated — national awards, significant grant funding, international leadership, new program launches, and more. School of Education faculty and students are achieving recognition at university and national levels. And while it’s nice to hang a plaque on your wall, the impact behind this recognition is what truly matters.

As you’ll read in the cover story, research funding is creating opportunity — to build academic programs, to expand our reach, to provide more learning venues for Baylor students. For faculty like Dr. Stephanie Gerow, who focuses on young learners with autism and other developmental disabilities, research affords the opportunity to help children and families. The late Nelson Mandela reflected, “Education is the most powerful weapon with which you can change the world.” And our Education faculty, along with the students they prepare, are changing the world in tangible ways.