Reflections from the Dean
|Ramona N. Mellott, Ph.D.|
On Friday, January 16, I woke up and began my usual morning ritual: a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and the local newspaper. Alarm and dismay overtook me as I read the headlines in the Arizona Daily Sun: “GOP Takes Knife to Education.” Having gone through 18 years and almost 17 different budget cycles, I don’t think I have ever seen suggested cuts that may go so deep.
The article probably reverberated across the state, bringing a sense of anguish to all of us in education and especially the university system. In this climate of doom and gloom, I think it is vitally important to reiterate the value and importance of graduate education as we weather this enormous economic challenge that has impacted all sectors of our society. Debra Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, emphasizes that we “need to communicate the specific contributions that graduates make to their communities, their states, the nation, and indeed the world” (Stewart 2008, 4). A year ago, the University Graduate Committee approved a mission and goals statement for graduate education at NAU, and we must continue to focus on these goals and move forward to “promote student achievement, research, scholarship, global learning, strategic partnerships, and engagement in discovery and practice” (April 2008).
This e-newsletter comes at a moment when it is important to to take the time to communicate our students' successes and to celebrate our achievements in graduate education and the steps we have made to move forward. Our cover story on Cici Cruz-Uribe, who was selected to attend the Ph.D. program at Penn State, is a wonderful tribute to the graduate preparation she received at NAU. In a recent e-mail communication to the faculty at the College of Education, Dean Daniel Kain describes the spring 2009 semester as a “watershed semester for the College of Education and Northern Arizona University” as we move forward in preparation for the NCATE visit (you can read more about NCATE in this newsletter). There is an article articulating important tips for graduate students who are in our distance and online programs (approximately 73% of graduate students at NAU). The work of our graduate students (see Accolades) and faculty members continues to amaze me and make me proud of the wonderful contributions to research and the active engagement in discovery and practice we see at NAU. Our students are successful because of the strong support they receive on so many fronts, and one of the key support systems is none other than our Cline Library. The article by Cline Library provides useful information for new graduate students on how to make the most of Cline's resources and partnership to further their research.
The e-newsletter includes many more interesting and thought-provoking pieces written by our committed faculty, staff, and students, all of which seek to highlight the wonderful happenings in graduate education at NAU. I invite all of you to read them and celebrate in the achievements and learn something more about the graduate school experience.
I wish you a Happy New Year. Keep your spirits up, and have a productive spring semester.