Access to educational opportunities for all
Our school is designing a new online Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership, which aims to provide low-cost, accessible content areas that teachers in rural Colorado have said that they need. It’s a rare opportunity to develop a high quality, needs-oriented, online degree for practicing teachers. We have met with rural teachers to discuss their professional needs, frustrations and dreams for their schools and communities, and we feel a sense of gratitude and inspiration in working with community partners.”
— Emily Gleason, lead program developer, and Dan Liston, professor and program advisor
We believe everyone deserves access to high-quality, inclusive education. That’s why we are focused on building equity-minded programs and scholarship opportunities that recruit and retain outstanding educators and community leaders from a wide range of backgrounds at a time when the world needs more leaders dedicated to social change.
We are expanding access to undergraduate and graduate courses and programs, especially aimed at engaging with rural and underserved areas. Based on the interests of our school partners, we are co-designing and developing innovative pathways and online programs in teacher leadership, interdisciplinary studies and teacher endorsements in areas of high demand, such as special education and cultural and linguistic diversity.
Center diversity, equity and justice in all that we do
As former teachers, we felt that education research was frequently inaccessible and incomprehensible to people outside of academia. With the support of Dean Kathy Schultz and other graduate students, we were able to found The Assembly, a journal expressly committed to promoting public scholarship. This journal helps to make research available to everyone and will support and cultivate generations of future public scholars.”
— Wagma Mommandi and Jason Buell, doctoral students and co-founders of The Assembly
We know that we all learn best and thrive in diverse communities. Our deep commitments to justice and equity shape our interactions, our choices in how to teach, the content of our teaching and research and our work in our larger community. We embrace a community of faculty, staff, students and alumni that is reflective of the rich diversity in our schools and society.
We have prioritized our work to recruit, retain and support diversity in our faculty, staff and students. In our classrooms and community partnerships, our goal is to place the perspectives of a diverse group of people at the center. In our work developing humanizing teaching practices, we are creating curriculum and spaces that are welcoming and affirming for all.
Broaden our impact as public scholars
Working with community partners is truly the only way we can make consequential change. My work with food justice activists has been sustained through our school’s small grants, our dean’s support, and de-emphasis on quick research results that are not accountable to communities and their concerns. These commitments and concrete actions make our school an incredible place from which to organize sustainable, meaningful social change.”
— Susan Jurow, professor of learning sciences and human development
Our internationally recognized faculty translate their work and engage in public discourse. We collaboratively design research projects with community members. Our goal is to produce top-notch research and timely, relevant educational work with communities and schools that is accessible and useful to many within and beyond the academy. As we deepen our work as public scholars, we aim to be a leader in this area and serve as a model of public scholarship.
We are providing professional development and support for faculty, staff and students engaged in public scholarship. We have rewritten faculty promotion and tenure guidelines to reward this critical work. We have launched new initiatives—such as our Ed Talks and a student-run, student-initiated journal called The Assembly—that help bring our work to the world. In addition, we are creating new structures and positions to support research-practice partnerships that begin with questions that arise in communities and schools.
Strengthen our partnerships and deepen our work
Each semester, our elementary teacher candidates comment that it is incredibly hard to learn to teach when our classroom spaces in our current education building limit the kinds of learning interactions that we know are best for our learning.It’s hard to transition from talking together as a whole group focused on a shared text or video example to working with small groups around a shared question. Our spaces really matter for making learning possible. Right now, our spaces are a problem, but it’s exciting to think that we’ll be able to now design our spaces specifically to make learning possible.”
— Melissa Braaten, assistant professor of education
Partnerships underpin much of our work, as we are responsive to the needs and desires of the local community. We collaborate with our community and school partners to address complex public challenges. In many instances, we develop and design our research questions with our partners, and we incorporate their expertise and experiences into our work together.
We have introduced seed grants to encourage our faculty and staff to locate their research, professional development work, teacher education, community-engaged projects and policy analyses in three specific Colorado communities—Lafayette, the Montbello neighborhood in Denver and rural Northeast Colorado—to have a deeper impact in these areas. Central to this work are sustained partnerships with members of these communities and collaboration across the projects.
Design learning spaces for collaboration, creativity and inclusivity
Spaces matter. That’s why we are reimagining exciting learning spaces that prioritize collaboration, creativity and inclusivity. To continue attracting and supporting talented students, we need environments that provide unparalleled educational opportunities, interactions and new technologies that support our school’s forward-thinking leadership in education.
We are in the midst of renovating a new campus home for the School of Education that will reflect the future of teaching and learning within and beyond our walls. In the space, we are prioritizing community-building and knowledge-building, as this move will bring our faculty, staff and research centers together under one roof. This is a tremendous opportunity to create cutting-edge learning spaces where we all can grow and thrive.