CEHD: Fostering Health and Learning For a Lifetime

Thanks for reading Vision 2020. We started this blog in 2012 as a way of sharing our message, research and knowledge with the people of Minnesota. Three years later, it’s proved to be much bigger than that, earning tens of thousands of clicks per month from countries, governments and institutions as far away as India and South Africa. It’s a testament to the quality of our professors and researchers; CEHD is leading the way in developing the next generation of world citizens.

As dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development, I oversee 5,000 students in eight departments in 11 buildings on two campuses. We are proud to be one of the University’s most vibrant student communities – and one of its most diverse. Five years ago, we introduced our Vision 2020 initiative, a plan to leverage the strengths of our college to become a leading voice devoted to teaching, research and community outreach with one purpose in mind: “Improving Lives.”

We wanted to examine every aspect of our college, from the teaching methods to departments, to determine what was necessary for us to fully serve the needs of the next generation of teachers, children and families. How would higher education change in the next decade and how could we best serve the needs of our students?

Change hasn’t always been easy. We’ve cut programs and drastically altered others. That took courage, and I thank each and every one of our professors and staff members for the work they’ve done to make CEHD a better, more nimble institution than it was five years ago.

Many of our efforts have gone into making CEHD a more accessible, more diverse college while maintaining the highest educational standards. Today, we’ve made great strides in accomplishing that goal. We’ve opened our doors to students from Upward Bound and U.S. Department of Education TRIO programs, as well as a high percentage of student athletes. With the help of our partners in local school districts, we’ve created residency programs to give aspiring teachers new pathways into the profession who otherwise could not attain licensure.

This diversity is one of CEHD’s biggest strengths, and we’ve been able to make our college more inclusive while achieving greater success in the classroom. We are retaining our first-year students at an impressive 97% rate, and our four-year graduation rate is 60%, comparable with any college in the University of Minnesota system.

These rates reflect what I believe is one of the best first-year student programs in the country. Our curriculum and teaching techniques are based on what works. This evidence-based approach has led to many innovative programs at CEHD, including co-teaching, shared classroom models, iPad programs for financially challenged students and “flipped” classrooms where students absorb information outside of class and spend class time engaging in applied learning activities. We’re providing our students, some of whom previously lacked access to technology, multiple ways to access class materials online. This information is critical, and our iPad program is key to giving our students access to a deep well of knowledge—any place, any time.

Our success in the classroom is based on knowledge gained from our research efforts. Each year, we’ve steadily increased both the number of research grants applied for by CEHD professors and the research dollars awarded to the college. We’ve been able to recruit faculty members that are not only world-class teachers, but skilled scholars who understand the importance and value of funding their research.

We are supporting their efforts with our “Improving Lives” comprehensive fundraising campaign. With support from the legislature shrinking, there’s a critical need for private donors willing to help fund CEHD’s mission. We asked for help, and the community has responded with overwhelming support. Our goal was to raise $62 million by 2018, and we’re well ahead of schedule with more than $46 million raised to date. These include generous donations from the Bentson Foundation for teacher residency programs and a new endowed chair for research in children’s mental health funded by John and Nancy Lindahl, and many others. We thank all of our donors for their belief in our mission and their generosity. If you’re interested in learning more about our Improving Lives Campaign, click here.

At CEHD, “Improving Lives” is more than just a slogan. It’s a philosophy that informs everything we do. Although education is always at the core of our mission, as evidenced by our extensive work on the achievement gap, CEHD is about teacher preparation and more. Our college is a world leader in human development, conducting groundbreaking research on such issues as early brain development, children’s mental health, childhood obesity and ambiguous loss. The mission we laid out when we drafted our Vision 2020 plan is to foster health and learning for a lifetime. Thanks to the efforts of our faculty and donors, we’ve made tremendous strides in reinventing our college. I can’t wait to see what the next five years brings. I hope you’ll be with us on the journey.

About the Author

Jean K. Quam, Ph.D.

  • Dean
  • College of Education and Human Development
  • University of Minnesota

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College of Education and Human Development

104 Burton Hall, 178 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455

P: 612-626-9252

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