2020 News Stories

A message from Interim Dean Judith A. Ponticell

October 16, 2020

Dear Students,  

Like many institutions of higher education across the state and throughout the nation, USF faces significant budget challenges in the face of COVID-19 while we continue our progress as a consolidated preeminent research university. As part of our strategic budget renewal process, USF must reduce the College of Education’s annual budget allocation by $6.8 M (or 35%) over two years, a challenging task that demands a comprehensive assessment as we plan for the future of Education at USF.  

To that end, we are strategically reimagining and reconfiguring Education at USF from a comprehensive College of Education to a more focused Graduate School of Education with an appropriate organizational affiliation with another college such as the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences. This will allow us to continue to serve our students and communities, including our vital partners in our area school districts.  

This change reflects the evolving demands of students, who are increasingly seeking alternative pathways to teacher certification outside of the traditional baccalaureate degree. Going forward, USF Education students will have an opportunity to earn teacher certification through a Master of Arts in Teaching degree which may be completed in a fifth year following a baccalaureate degree in a content area, giving Education students a competitive advantage among job seekers in the market. 

A Graduate School of Education is not an unusual model for institutions in the American Association of Universities (AAU) or universities with high research activity, nor is it uncommon to house a school of education within a college with associated academic expertise and interests. Re-envisioning the College of Education as a graduate school enables us to leverage our strengths in our master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degree programs, and to place a stronger emphasis on research opportunities and contributions to our important PreK-12 partners and beyond. 

In moving forward with planning for a graduate school of education, leadership, faculty, and staff will be guided by institutional data, best practices, the needs of the communities we serve, our professional accrediting body (CAEP), and our national accrediting body (SACSCOC). Most importantly, we will follow processes to ensure that currently enrolled students can complete their degrees at USF. 

Education at USF has been an integral part of the university’s history from the very beginning, and we plan to continue empowering teachers and educational leaders to shape the future of the profession. We are incredibly proud of our thousands of alumni across the Tampa Bay region and beyond. Every day, they make an impact. Again, we are committed to ensuring that our students who are currently enrolled in our undergraduate programs in Education can complete the courses and field experiences they need to complete their degrees and become professionals who will have an impact on their students in the future. 

Please watch for future communications from the College. For any questions or concerns that you may have, please contact your Advisor. 

Thank you,  

Judith A. Ponticell 
Professor and Interim Dean
College of Education