As challenging as this year has been, we have a lot to celebrate as 2020 comes to a close and 2021 begins. Here are just some of our top highlights from the CU Boulder School of Education's year, and we look forward to new possibilities in the coming year.
We officially moved into a new campus home in the Fleming building that is offering us opportunities to redesign how we work and learn together.
The fall 2020 semester marked the first time the School of Education hosted education classes in the newly redesigned spaces in the Fleming building. The two-phased renovation project began in 2019, and fundraising efforts are continuing to complete the second phase of our renovations. We are looking forward to building innovative learning labs, and we are delighted that all of our programs and centers will be housed under the same roof once complete. Learn more about the building and take a peek inside the building.
We adapted learning and working environments as we continue to commit to protecting our herd.
We are proud of the ways our students, faculty, and staff came together as a community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to offer resources and support as we maintained distance, wore masks, and adapted to changing times. Our redesigned classrooms and study spaces support physical distancing and reduced density, and upgraded air exchange systems safely replace classroom air twice per hour. Our Office of Field Experiences led partnerships with other teacher education programs across the state to work with the Colorado Department of Education to rethink student teaching. We launched the Buffs for Frontline Service Employees program to support support the children of CU Boulder’s essential employees with tutoring. We acknowledge the unequal impact of the pandemic, and we continue to stand in solidarity with educators, essential workers, schools, and families.
We recommitted to justice and our work during uncertain times with compassion and creativity.
We recommitted to racial justice and anti-racist teaching in our school and higher education broadly. We listened to and centered the voices and visions for a reimagined future of education from current educators leading CU Boulder's 2020 Ed Talks. We reinvigorated our community engagement work, including launching new place-based partnership projects, nine new outreach and engagement awards, mobilizing actions in solidarity with Black lives, adapting research projects, a new institute pairing students and artificial intelligence learning, and a fall semester start with an all faculty and staff retreat dedicated to racial justice. We launched a Doctoral Mentorship Pathway Program for historically underrepresented and marginalized prospective students considering doctoral studies and made the GRE test optional for 2021 doctoral admissions in an effort to safeguard educational equity and access during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite its many challenges, this year brought about many opportunities to celebrate our CU Boulder School of Education community near and far.
We welcomed many new staff and faculty. Two of our centers moved to new leadership—Jesús Rodríguez is the executive director for the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education and three faculty direct the leadership team for the CU Engage: the Center for Community-based Learning and Research.
Rubén Donato became an NAEd fellow and was honored with the Alumni Awards’ Stearns Award for faculty and staff contributions while alumna Kris Gutiérrez was honored with the George Norlin Award, the highest honor for CU Boulder alumni. Bill Peneul was named distinguished professor, the highest faculty honor bestowed by the University of Colorado, and Terrenda White earned the Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award. Several doctoral students earned fellowships to continue their outstanding working, including Molly Hamm-Rodriguez’s Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship to conduct her dissertation research in the Dominican Republic; Jose Ortiz’s American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education fellowship to study the ways Latinx students make sense of their emotional learning; Astrid Sambolín Morales’ NAEd/Spencer Research Development Award to continue highlighting Puerto Rican mothers’ agency, resistance, and resiliency as they navigate the mainland school systems after unnatural disasters; and more.
Though some of our favorite traditions took on creative, distanced modalities, we were grateful to celebrate outstanding graduates, scholarship recipients and supporters, and all our amazing students and 2020 graduates.
It's been a strange year and a challenging time, and yet we look back with gratitude and fondness for all we have overcome and all there is yet to look forward to in the future.