Message from the Dean: Winter 2023

January 13, 2023

Dr. Shanna Hagan-Burke
Dean, School of Education


This issue of Impact features multiple accolades for faculty, alumni, students, staff, and programs. Frankly, that is nothing new; over the years the School of Education (SOE) has garnered recognition in many arenas. Perhaps it’s the range of esteemed recognition the school continues to achieve that is the most impressive aspect. It’s not focused on one discipline or one person; it’s not exclusive to graduate or undergraduate programs; it’s not only about research or only about teaching; it’s all of these and more.

The SOE’s EdD in Learning and Organizational Change — a program less than five years old — was named 2022 Program of the Year by the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate and was ranked fourth nationally by Fortune Magazine. What a testament to the dedicated faculty who developed an online interdisciplinary program capable of providing an authentic sense of community for students from around the globe. The program’s support systems include a dedicated writing center whose director, Dr. Nick Werse, recently received Baylor’s Outstanding Staff Award.

At the undergraduate level, elementary education graduate Emily Blackwell, BSEd ’22, was named national student teacher of the year for her clinical fieldwork performance while at Midway ISD’s Hewitt Elementary. This is the SOE’s second such national honor since 2019, when Lauren Hornbeak, BSEd ’19, a secondary life science major, received the award. This recognition also reflects the excellence of our local school partners, as do two exemplary school partnership awards we received over the past five years from the National Association for Professional Development Schools.

For the second year in a row, SOE faculty claimed three of Baylor’s outstanding faculty awards — reaping well-deserved recognition for faculty excellence in both teaching and research and in both tenured and tenure-track categories. 
While I am proud to share these public accolades, I am equally moved by countless other, perhaps lesser known, indicators of excellence.

For example, a former student recently reflected on the support he received from Dr. Sandi Cooper: “A servant approach to mentorship is what makes Dr. Cooper an invaluable part of the unique Baylor experience. Baylor is a place where ‘lights shine bright,’ but what makes Dr. Cooper special is that the ‘lights’ she helped cultivate are now shining all over the world, using the skills and expertise she taught and modeled to serve their communities and universities.”

In a recent episode of the SOE’s “Meet Your Major” podcast for prospective undergraduates, a current BSEd student shared similar sentiments when explaining why she chose Baylor: “To be the kind of teacher I want to be — which is loving and caring and intentional about the way I teach my students — I needed to be somewhere that faculty would treat me that way, and I knew Baylor is that kind of program.”

You can listen to "Meet Your Major" podcast episodes here: