College of Education dean launches Office of (School) Engagement task force
Over the summer, Denise Spangler, dean of the UGA College of Education, initiated a task force to rethink the future of the Office of School Engagement. Janna Dresden stepped down as director in June after having led the office since it was created in 2008. When no director was hired for Dresden's position, Spangler decided it was a good time to consider the future direction for the College's school engagement efforts.
The Office of School Engagement has primarily served to support the Professional Development School District partnership between the College and the Clarke County School District. The task force has been asked to consider building additional partnerships and more broadly conceiving engagement with the community using the name Office of (School) Engagement.
"This is an opportunity to rethink our Office of (School) Engagement from the ground up," said Spangler. "The task force is considering all forms of College engagement—not just P-12 schools, but also clinics, community centers and more. I have asked the task force to dream big."
Faculty nominations for the task force were solicited over the summer, and 10 members were selected in September. The task force includes faculty from five departments, representing a range of faculty status. Bethany Hamilton-Jones, clinical associate professor in the department of communication sciences and special education, and Georgia Hodges, assistant research scientist and MAT coordinator in the department of mathematics and science education, are serving as the group's co-chairs. They have convened two task force meetings and began discussing the future of the College's engagement efforts.
"As a former science teacher, I understand the value of productive university and community collaboration in the brick-and-mortar school building and beyond," said Hodges. "I hope to help the College of Education create a new vision for community collaboration."
Spangler has not given the group a deadline; rather, she wants the task force to take the time they need to clearly define a direction for engagement efforts. The recommendations will determine whether to re-open a search for a director. Erica Gilbertson, formerly the project manager for the Office of School Engagement, is serving as the interim director.
Task force committee members:
Tina Anderson, clinical assistant professor in the department of communication sciences and special education (UGA Griffin Campus)
Erica Gilbertson, public service faculty and interim director of the Office of School Engagement
Mary Guay, clinical assistant professor in the department of language and literacy education
Bethany Hamilton-Jones, clinical associate professor in the department of communication sciences and special education
Margaret Hines, lecturer, department of educational psychology
Georgia Wood Hodges, assistant research scientist and MAT coordinator in the department of mathematics and science education
Amy Murphy, clinical assistant professor in the department of educational theory and practice
Alisa Norris Schultz, clinical associate professor in the department of communication sciences and special education and speech-language pathology clinic coordinator for the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic
Paige Tompkins, director of P-12 educator preparation and clinical professor in the Office of Academic Programs
Richard Welsh, assistant professor in the department of lifelong education, administration, and policy