Office of the Dean

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A Message from the Dean of the College of Education and Human Services

Rider University is responding to the nationwide call for transformational improvements in our colleges of education. Engaging the “digital natives” who are growing up with 1:1 learning 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.
Most 2017 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, Madhupa Das in 2014, Ashley Clark in 2016, and Alexis Esposito and Garrett Gallinott in 2017 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. Each year we survey 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 College of Education and Human Services 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 Teacher Leadership is an online option. For those who hold a bachelor’s degree, our Master of Arts in Teaching with Embedded Teacher Certification is a popular option. This program can be taken either part time or full time. Our new doctorate in Educational Leadership, the first doctoral degree in Rider’s 152-year history, was launched in 2017. We recruited a distinguished cohort of students and will begin recruiting our next cohort in the fall.

Our study abroad options are exciting. While all candidates student teach locally, some elect to complete the last part of the practicum abroad in Madrid or Barcelona, Spain; Graz, Austria; or Sydney, Australia. Each year we offer faculty-led study tours to countries such as Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Ireland, and England. Accompanied by faculty, students visit schools each day and have the opportunity to teach mini-lessons.

Our College of Education and Human Services 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.

Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Rider FIRST (Full Immersion Residency in STEM Teaching) is recruiting and preparing 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-6 teachers that breaks down historical barriers between campus-based teacher education and school-based field experience. Our third cohort began work at two local elementary schools this year and recently completed the program.

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 in many states.

Another successful initiative is Rider SELECT, a collaboration between Rider’s Departments of Science and our College of Education and Human Services. 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.

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, funded by Janssen Pharmaceutical, provides middle and high school students and their teachers the opportunity to engage with Rider University faculty from across our College of Education and Human Services, 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. Our certificate program in Life and Career Coaching enables our students to earn an additional credential while completing a graduate degree.

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