Office of the Dean

A Message from the Dean of the School of Education

Rider University is responding to the nationwide call for transformational improvements in our schools of education. Engaging the “digital natives” who are growing up with 4G mobile technology, iPads, cloud computing, augmented reality and social media means that we must learn to communicate and educate in different ways.  Our programs in teacher education, teacher and administrator leadership, and human services offer cutting-edge opportunities for high quality preparation and professional growth.

And our students get jobs. 
Many 2014 graduates are working in schools, clinical settings and organizations, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  Our field-based programs and strong Rider alumni network provide important contacts and mentoring opportunities that leads to employment opportunities for our graduates. In fact, six of our recent graduates, Emily DiPaola in 2010, Angela DiFranco in 2011, Toni Ann Mizzi in 2012, Jami Centrella and Amanda Schott in 2013, and Madhupa Das in 2014 have been named NJ Distinguished Student Teacher of the Year.

To learn “What happens to Rider graduates when they take actual teaching positions?” we developed a survey and sent it to principals throughout the region asking them to rate the performance of any and all recently hired Rider graduates in their schools. The results have been very encouraging. The average of all the responses in all the categories was “Above average for a new teacher.” This confirms information from ratings by student teaching cooperating teachers, supervisors, and professors of Rider students in their student-teaching semester, and it suggests that in the real, in-service world of everyday teaching, Rider graduates continue to excel. We are currently surveying recent graduates to ask about the effectiveness of their preparation at Rider.

How do we make this happen?
We have created a diverse set of student-centered programs that address the needs of 21st century learners.  We have created strategic partnerships with local schools, businesses, and government and community agencies so that we can work collaboratively to develop high-quality programs for our students.

The strengths of the Rider University School of Education enable us to function successfully in today’s changing world.  We have a strong faculty with diverse backgrounds and expertise.  We value excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.  Our professors are devoted advisors and mentors who relate well to their students.  Our programs are accredited by NCATE/CAEP, CACREP, NASM and NASP.  These agencies represent the gold standard for accreditation in their respective fields. In fact, we are the first private institution in New Jersey to have the prestigious NCATE accreditation.

Our two departments, graduate and undergraduate, specialize in meeting the needs of learners in various stages of life.  As you browse our site you will find the details of all of our programs, certificates, and endorsements.

We have many new blended and fully online options available.  While our undergraduate teacher education program is a traditional face-to-face four-year program, our Master of Arts in Teaching is an online option.  Students can complete the four years in person at Rider, graduate, take a teaching job, and complete the MAT portion of the program online.

Our School of Education is STEM-strong.  As a partner in the prestigious 100Kin10 initiative, we are committed to implementing creative and innovative responses to our nation’s shared goal of preparing 100,000 excellent STEM teachers in 10 years.

Another successful initiative is Rider SELECT, a collaboration between Rider’s Departments of Science and our School of Education.  SELECT is dedicated to the preparation and career-long professional development of grades K-12 teachers of science and mathematics.

Established in 2003, our CONNECT-ED (C-E) initiative is a consortium of 20 central New Jersey districts and independent schools, Rider and Princeton Universities, Raritan Valley Community College, and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Corporation.  Funded by 3M, Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Martinson Family Foundation, it is dedicated to providing a coherent, sustained system of professional development for K-12 teachers of science and mathematics that models the inquiry approach to teaching and learning.  Rider serves as lead institution for the Consortium.

Funded by the Carnegie Foundation, Rider FIRST (Full Immersion Residency in STEM Teaching) will recruit and prepare 75 new STEM K-5 teachers in an innovative full-immersion teacher preparation program that is firmly grounded in best practices and educational theory.  This residency preparation project brings together elementary children, change-of-career STEM professionals, in-service teachers, and university faculty to create a scalable, sustainable model for preparing K-5 teachers that breaks down historical barriers between campus-based teacher education and school-based field experience. Our first cohort began work at a local elementary school this year.

With generous funding from the Martinson Family Foundation, we have created five online graduate level science and engineering as design courses and five online graduate level mathematics courses to enable teachers to deepen their understanding of STEM topics and achieve certification through grade 8.

Grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen Pharmacueticals, Inc. and the New Jersey Education Association enable us to offer summer programs for high school students interested in careers in science, technology, and mathematics teaching.

The Shakesperience festival provides middle and high school students and their teachers the opportunity to engage with Rider University faculty from across our School of Education, the Department of Theatre and Dance, and Westminster College of the Arts.

Classroom teachers find our focus on implementing the common core standards an excellent way to refresh their content knowledge and positively impact student achievement in preschool through grade 12 schools.  Career changers find Rider’s supportive culture and student-centered learning environment just what they need to grow and learn.  Professional guidance, highly qualified professors, excellent field placements, and our connections to the field give graduates of Rider a competitive edge in landing the right job.

Successful graduates of our programs in organizational leadership, school and clinical mental health counseling, school psychology, teachers of students with disabilities, business education, administration and supervision, and classroom teaching are having a positive impact around the globe.

Study with us and join us on campus, on-site in your school or district, or online.  Ask about our custom-made programs and school-based cohorts that address the specific needs of your school or organization.

Rider is an exciting place to be, and I invite you to browse our site so that you experience the outstanding work of our faculty, staff, and students. Please visit our campus and stop by to say hello. I’d be delighted to speak with you.

Warm regards,
Sharon J. Sherman
Dean