Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels announced
last week that Ralph Fessler will remain as
dean of the School of
Education for an additional year, postponing a planned
retirement that was to
start at the end of the current academic year.
Daniels made the announcement March 24 in a broadcast
e-mail to faculty and staff. In the
message, he said, "Acting Provost Scott Zeger and I are
deeply grateful to Dean Fessler for agreeing
to postpone his retirement while we conduct a review of the
school to determine how best to build on
the strong base that he has established since 2007, when
the School of Education and the Carey
Business School were launched from the former School of
Professional Studies in Business and
"As its founding dean," he continued, "Ralph has
provided inspired leadership to the school. He
has encouraged innovative approaches to the training of
teachers and the students whom they
instruct. Since joining the university in 1983, he has made
numerous contributions to K-12 preparation
programs. Ralph is a national and international leader in
his field, and we are delighted to be able to
tap into his expertise as we embark on a review of the
school and a search for his successor."
Daniels said that he, Fessler and Zeger will work with
an external group of advisers to
determine the best way to support the mission of the School
of Education. The search for a new dean
will begin upon completion of the review.
Last September, Fessler, inaugural dean of the School
of Education, announced that he would
retire after nearly 26 years at Johns Hopkins.
"President Daniels asked me to stay on and, after a
few days of deliberation, I agreed to it,"
Fessler said last week.
"I believe the School of Education is poised to emerge
as a national leader in education, and I
am delighted that President Daniels is committed to
conducting a thorough national search to identify
the best person to guide the school into the future," he
said. "I am excited about working with him
and Acting Provost Zeger in support of the search and in
preparing for a smooth transition in
Fessler joined Johns Hopkins in 1983 as a faculty
member and director of the Graduate Division
of Education. He served as associate dean for academic
affairs from 1993 until being appointed
interim dean of SPSBE in 1999 and dean in 2000. When SPSBE
was separated seven years later into
two entities, he was appointed dean of the School of
During Fessler's tenure, Johns Hopkins education
programs obtained national accreditation from
the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher
Education. The school also established numerous
collaborations throughout the university in an effort to
bring an interdisciplinary focus to elementary
education issues. Under his leadership, the master's degree
and graduate certificate programs
expanded, including the Master of Arts in Teaching degree
that he re-established in 1986 after a 12-
year hiatus; it is currently the school's largest program.
The School of Education annually awards more
than 500 master's degrees in education, the largest number
by any institution in Maryland.