Meet the dean
Margaret Crocco leading College of Education
Margaret Crocco was named the 15th dean of the University of Iowa College of Education in March 2011. Her appointment began July 1.
"I am honored to have been selected to this leadership position at such an outstanding public university," says Crocco, who was drawn to the UI College of Education in part because of Iowa's proud tradition of civic engagement.
Crocco (visit www.education.uiowa.edu/html/people/facstaffs/mcrocco.htm for her biography) answered a few questions during her first month on the job, touching on her vision for the UI College of Education during a time when education is under intense scrutiny like never before.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing schools of education right now?
One of the biggest challenges is accountability. Just as there was an accountability movement for K–12 that gathered steam in the ’90s, higher education is confronting many calls for greater accountability. Clearly, colleges of education are coming under great scrutiny in the overall process of improving education nationwide in the face of global challenges. I do understand why some people are looking at colleges of education and asking the question, “Is the preparation in these colleges of education as rigorous as it should be? Who are we admitting and what are we doing while they are there?”
We need to rely on research to analyze our approach to teacher preparation and the preparation of future professors. Likewise, we need to consider how the preparation of others in “helping professions” such as counselor education and counseling psychology can be improved. Finally, we need to use our expertise in testing and measurement to help advance education generally.
What is your vision for the UI College of Education and a few of your major goals?
My vision is to contribute our faculty’s excellence in teaching, research, and service to the state of Iowa, the nation, and the world.
A part of this vision is to make more visible all the good work that goes on here, to do greater outreach to the community, and to increase external funding to the college. We will be engaging in a long-range planning process over the next year, but I very much want this to be a collaborative planning effort that involves all segments of our college community.
What impact is the new Teacher Leader Center having on the way the college prepares future teachers?
The Teacher Leader Center pulled together critical dimensions related to the contemporary challenges of preparing teachers for the 21st century. We have to do a better job regarding issues of diversity. We still need to attract men into teaching elementary school; we need to have more women teaching science and math. We also need to have teacher candidates who consider teaching in places beyond the communities in which they grew up, especially in urban schools. It is also extremely important that we do a good job preparing teachers to use technology. An equally important issue is assessment because the differentiated curriculum is critical to the classroom.
How do you define a successful teacher leader?
Becoming a teacher leader is a developmental process. The successful teacher leader is one who is aware of the need to grow in order to stay current with contemporary education. Leadership in this context doesn’t just mean that one is an executive. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. You’re bringing everyone along, but doing it by modeling your own high standards as well as a commitment to growth and development in concert with others.
How has technology changed the way teachers teach and students learn?
The rural context of much education in Iowa puts a premium on the delivery of education in ways that optimize the use of technology to deliver a UI degree program to many students who live far away from our campus. I’m hoping we can develop other distance learning programs across the College of Education besides the one in educational leadership that we now offer.