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A Letter from Dean Rowley

Dean Rowley sitting at a desk

Dear Friends,

It has been a wonderful first year as dean of the School of Education and Human Development. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to lead this school and humbled by the warm welcome I have received. I am blown away by our exceptional faculty, staff and students. Every interaction I’ve had with our greater community of alumni, parents, donors, and friends, fuels my excitement for all we will accomplish together.  

There is much to celebrate from the past year and much to look forward to in the years to come. First, I want to acknowledge and thank my predecessor, Bob Pianta, for his leadership and support in both welcoming me to this community and sharing his wisdom. I’m grateful that he remains a committed member of our faculty. 

I am delighted to share that we are currently ranked No.17 by U.S. News and World Report with four programs in the top 10, and our high-quality online program is ranked No. 8. We continue to be recognized within the University community, across the Commonwealth, and by our peers nationwide for our quality leadership, academic programs and scholarship. 

One thing that drew me to this role was the opportunity to build upon this school’s work in support of the University’s greater vision, and President Ryan’s 2030 plan. Our school embodies what it means to be a great and good neighbor to the Charlottesville community and beyond. We have over 100 students currently in schools across the region, and the programming of our centers and labs are accessed by hundreds of area youths each year.  

Scholarship which is both 'great and good' is central and core to our school – always has been and always will be. We have an opportunity going forward to further showcase our research making larger investments and building greater infrastructure around that work.

We also continue to strengthen our foundation by recruiting and retaining exceptional faculty and staff – and we are cultivating a vibrant educational community through the opportunities we provide for our students to engage in research, leadership and activism. Opportunities made possible thanks to your generosity. 

Equity and inclusion are key priorities for me – they are part of my core values, and they transcend all areas of our school including teaching, scholarship, community culture, and administration. I’m very interested in the role of equity in education, and the role our school plays in ensuring that our schools and systems recognize that each person has different circumstances and allocates the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. 

We will also maintain our exceptional academic programs focused on the whole developing human. I am deeply committed to our role as a school that trains teachers. Now, more than ever, we have a critical role to play in preparing teachers – and not only prepare them to be excellent educators in the classroom, but also how to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.    

One of the most important things to me as dean is that we are good stewards of our resources. This, to me, means continuing to listen and learn about what you and other community members in our school need, and staying committed to our mission by working together to celebrate our academic excellence, create an impact in the world, and elevate strong research and students who become leaders in the field.   
I am grateful for this opportunity to celebrate the ways your steadfast support has impacted our community, thank you. I am inspired by the collective effort of so many faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends. Thank you for welcoming me back to UVA. I look forward to our partnership and all we will accomplish together.