It’s a powerful combination: Berkeley School of Education’s disciplinary rigor partnered with a significant commitment to equity and social justice. As a lifelong learner and educator and your dean, I am committed to leaning into and amplifying these strengths in ways that positively impact students and communities.
As I spend the first many months of my tenure listening to all members of our community to set our priorities for impact, I will make a commitment to you from day one: We will walk the walk of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice and actively cultivate an anti-racist school culture. Together we will create the kind of community at BSE that we envision for our schools and our world.
We face mounting challenges in education today. A teacher and leader shortage from preK through the superintendency — fueled not by a lack of qualified educators but a lack of support for educators — is wreaking havoc on schools across the country and affecting student learning. Culture wars related to race, gender, and sexuality undermine and in some cases silence our ability to teach in subjects from STEM to Ethnic Studies. Gun violence in our schools and communities continues as once-unthinkable attacks on children are largely unaddressed. Meanwhile, the mental health of our students as well as teachers and leaders continues to decline.
These challenges in education are challenges to the very fabric of our society.
My hope lies in leveraging the resources and expertise of the greatest public university in the world to educate the next generation of teachers, leaders, and researchers; in applying the impactful and innovative research produced at Berkeley; and in expanding access and belonging in K–12 and higher education.
Berkeley School of Education is already out front in these areas through the excellence of our professional programs that prepare teachers, leaders, and school psychologists; innovations in online education through the recently launched Online @ BSE; developments of AI assisted learning tools; and groundbreaking research that expands the college-going pipeline for people who are formerly incarcerated.
We are also on the verge of a monumental shift in our school’s history: launching an undergraduate major in Education Sciences. The recently approved undergraduate major is set to formally open in fall 2024. It is an opportunity for BSE to play a more significant role within the life of the university and expand our reach to undergraduates in the same thoughtful, methodical, equitable way we’ve worked with graduate students.
In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to talking with all members of our community to deepen my understanding of our strengths and challenges and to crystalize our school’s vision and priorities for impact.
This work cannot be done with our students, staff, and faculty alone. We look to the broader Berkeley campus, to our alumni, and to friends and supporters who believe that education is at the heart of social change to join us in all that we do.
Thank you in advance for your ideas, insights, and collaboration.
Michelle D. Young
Dean and Professor