The dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development is working to elevate the school’s profile by strengthening relations with all levels of government and developing international and online programs.
GSEHD will launch several new initiatives to reinvest in education as some programs within the school experience falling enrollments
“Education as a career path is viewed by some people as not being as lucrative as other professions,” the school’s dean Michael Feuer said. But the dean hopes to change that by improving education programs across the University and engaging in cutting-edge research.
“Generally, we want to exploit the school’s current and future resources and give it a prominent role in the world of education, research, policy and practice,” Feuer said.
Inspired by a University-wide and nationwide interest in nutrition and human behavior, Feuer said GSEHD will launch a collaborative food science education program in the near future.
“The first lady at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and the first lady at 20th and F streets here are both very interested in this nutrition problem in the United States,” Feuer said, referring to Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity campaign and a series of nutrition courses taught by Diane Knapp, the wife of University President Steven Knapp.
Celebrity chef José Andrés will work alongside GSEHD faculty to help conceptualize the initiative and provide food preparation expertise. Andrés owns several restaurants in the D.C. area, including Zaytinya, Jaleo, Café Atlántico and minibar.
Feuer said the school plans to implement programs designed to teach high school students about the sciences – like chemistry and physics – within local partner high schools such as the School Without Walls.
He said GSEHD is also looking to build on relationships with local and federal governments. So far, the school’s faculty has met with senior officials from the federal government and from Congress to discuss challenges in education.
“We are ready, willing and able to be active partners in the improvement of education at all levels,” said Feuer, who came to GW in the fall of 2010 from the National Research Council of the National Academies.
Within the University community, GSEHD is making efforts to collaborate with other schools to streamline education programs across different fields.
In a partnership with the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, GSEHD is developing an education and arts initiative that promotes a more pronounced role for subjects like music and the fine arts within academic curricula, contributing to what Feuer called a national need for investment in the arts.
“There is a certain kind of anxiety that if we trim that too much as a nation, we will regret it because we will have essentially eliminated such an important part of our culture from the education of young people,” he said.
As many prominent education leaders question the ability of education systems nationwide to prosper within the current economic climate, GSEHD will also contribute to a new program spearheaded by the GW Business School that explores the connection between education and employment.
“[The program will involve] thinking about the relationship of education to skills, employment [and] the economy with a focus on our region and jobs in the D.C. area,” Feuer said.
Feuer debunked the myth that a floundering economy and a failing education system are inextricably linked while speaking at the National Press Club Friday, Feb. 18, for the 13th annual William H. Angoff Memorial Lecture.
Through all of these initiatives, Feuer said he hopes to make GSEHD a hub for future work in national and international education.
“Now that the world is changing all around us, we are positioning ourselves to really be active players in seeing to it that this future is one that we will be pleased with as a nation, as a society,” Feuer said.
This article appeared in the February 28, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.