Fessler Named Interim Dean of SPSBE
Fessler, director of the school's Graduate Division of Education and a professor of education at Johns Hopkins since 1983, will hold the position until a new dean is named. Stanley C. Gabor retired Sept. 1 after 17 years as head of the school, which until July was known as the School of Continuing Studies.
"Ralph Fessler has a long and distinguished record of service to the school and the university," President William R. Brody said. "His leadership of the school's Graduate Division of Education has earned him the respect of his colleagues both within the school and among colleagues in related fields across the university. He is known nationally for his expertise in teacher training and in recent years has led efforts to reform teacher education in Maryland."
Provost Steven Knapp praised Fessler's "impressive grasp of the range of the school's programs" and "profound commitment to its mission."
"The school is going through a period of rapid growth and refocusing, as signaled by its recent name change; Ralph Fessler has the wisdom, experience, and commitment to excellence that will ensure the school's stability as it moves through this transitional phase," Knapp said.
Fessler, a resident of Ellicott City, Md., said he looks forward "to working with the excellent faculty and staff in SPSBE to continue the tradition of excellence that has been established under Stanley Gabor's leadership."
"This is an exciting time in our history, as our school embraces a new name and a new MBA degree, and continues our participation in teacher education reform activities and selective undergraduate programs," Fessler said. "I feel privileged to serve as interim dean during this important period in our history."
Now celebrating its 90th anniversary, the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education is the third-oldest division of the university. It now has nearly 4,800 students taking courses for credit in Baltimore, Washington and throughout the region. Another 2,500 enroll in non-credit history, literature, science, music, language, writing and humanities courses in the school's Odyssey program. Some 500 seniors participate in non-credit lectures, seminars and workshops given by the school's Evergreen Society.
Fessler, who earned his bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and once was a public school teacher in that city, has specialized at Hopkins in teacher development, alternative approaches to teacher education, integration of K-12 and teacher education curricula and alternative approaches to leadership development.
He currently is involved in professional development school partnerships with the public school systems in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County; implementing the redesign of teacher education in Maryland; integrating problem-based learning into the teacher education curriculum; and participating in the Baltimore City Public Schools Aspiring Leaders program.
Fessler also was instrumental in creation of the new Center for Reading Excellence, a partnership among the Graduate Division of Education, the Hopkins-affiliated Kennedy-Krieger Institute and the Maryland State Department of Education. The CRE will help teachers apply the latest developments in brain research and technology to teaching reading in the classroom.
A nationwide search for a permanent SPSBE dean is expected to continue for some months, Knapp said.
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