President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price announced Wednesday that Pam Grossman, an education professor at Stanford, will be the next dean of the Graduate School of Education.
On Wednesday evening, education professors voiced their support for their choice, citing Grossman’s extensive experience in teacher education.
“We’re very excited to have a dean coming in with an extensive background in studying excellence in teaching,” Professor of Education Michael Nakkula said. “As a GSE Dean, few things are as important as understanding what it takes to develop the strongest teachers possible.”
Grossman received a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University in 1988 and has taught there since 2000.
As a professor, her research interests are teacher education and certification, staff development and English education. She currently heads Stanford’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, an organization that studies the qualities of effective teachers. She is known for her dedication to training quality teachers for public schools and to addressing problems in education systems with high teacher turnover.
Maureen Cotterill, the manager of Center for Collaborative Research and Practice in Teacher Education at Penn, said some question the importance of teacher education. She said Grossman’s presence at the school will alleviate these questions.
Professors like professor of education Bob Boruch said they were excited to speak with the new dean about their own disciplines. “My colleagues and I are looking forward to talking with Dr. Grossman about what we in the Quantitative Methods division are doing in regard to research on training,” he said
Faculties in Teacher Education Program also showed enthusiasm for Grossman. “There are so many connections between her work and our interest that we’re just so excited,” Cotterill said.
Nonetheless, Grossman says her focus as a dean will be much broader than her individual research and she will support a faculty with diverse interests.
Cotterill voiced her confidence that Grossman will work as a “bridge builder,” connecting different departments in fostering excellent teachers.
Grossman also said GSE will further engage with local schools and neighborhoods — something Kate Kinney Grossman, a Secondary Education Coordinator applauded.
“Part of our excitement for having a leader like Dr. Grossman is that Penn has a potential to be a leader of Philadelphia schools,” Kinney Grossman — who is not related to Pam Grossman — said.
During her tenure as dean, Grossman also hopes to support students who want to pursue research. “I’m also hoping that we can work with professional schools across the University on the issue of research that supports students,” she said.
Grossman will not assume her new duties until Jan. 1, 2015. Her predecessor, Andy Porter, will remain dean of GSE until the end of 2014 — instead of until the end of this semester, as the University originally announced last year — in order to facilitate the transition between the two deans.
Until assuming her position, Grossman will be meeting faculty and administrators to learn more about GSE and the University as a whole. She will visit Philadelphia next week for the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting and come to Penn as well.
“I’m very much looking forward to joining the Penn community and GSE,” Grossman said.