From the founding of America’s great universities — Yale, Harvard and Brown (originally church-affiliated institutions) — their core missions were educating citizens for a democratic society, addressing the problems of society, and fostering in students a mission for personal and community service. Schools of education in such universities, then and now, sought to stimulate discussion, research, and action on challenging issues of the day — aimed at strengthening communities and working for the common good. In this same tradition, as one of America’s top universities, Baylor’s School of Education established a Distinguished Lecture Series, to promote discussion and action on relevant educational issues within the Baylor academy, the greater Waco community, and beyond.
Dr. Geneva Gay, nationally recognized in multicultural education, inaugurated the series in October addressing "culturally responsive teaching." She led the audience to explore culture as an element of effective teaching and schooling. The next day, in a follow-up discussion targeted at Waco area educational and community leaders, she discussed practical and pragmatic implications of cultural sensitivity in an increasingly diverse society.
In February, world-renowned educational psychologist David Berliner spoke on the deleterious effects of high-stakes testing on public schools and American economic competitiveness. During a community presentation the following day, Dr. Berliner foreshadowed a soon-to-be-released policy paper on out-of-school factors that profoundly impact schooling, some eclipsing efforts of the most effective teachers and schools.
Reactions to the series have been gratifying. Across the two lectures, audiences increased in number and breadth, including people from across the University and the region. Indeed,
We anticipate salient, relevant, and perhaps provocative topics in next year’s Distinguished Lecture Series. I hope you will plan to attend. Watch the School’s Web page (www.baylor.edu/soe) for more information.
Jon M. Engelhardt
Dean, School of Education