Johns Hopkins Gazette | March 30, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 30, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 28
Dean Fessler to Extend Tenure at School of Ed

By Tracey A. Reeves

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 Education.

"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 leadership."

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 Education.

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.


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