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From the Dean

Jun. 11, 2009, 3:34 PM

 benbowAs a world-class college of education and human development, Vanderbilt’s Peabody College has many facets. In classroom teaching, for example, we seek to prepare tomorrow’s leaders. In other settings, we strive to help those who are already hard at work develop their professional knowledge and skills. Central to both of these activities is the discovery and sharing of new knowledge by expert faculty conducting groundbreaking research.

In fact, Peabody serves the nation as a research leader—in education, in policy, in human development and in organizations and communities. Our research expenditures for the last fiscal year exceeded $32 million. Only a handful of institutions in the country have that kind of impact, and impact is what we are looking for. This issue of the Peabody Reflector showcases a number of instances where Peabody researchers are building bridges between a growing base of theoretical knowledge and its practical application in settings from classrooms to communities.

On campus, the ideal of community has been elevated to a new level with the opening this year of The Commons, bringing together all first-year students in 10 residence halls on the Peabody campus. The Commons is the result of a decade of planning, construction and program development intended to acclimate first-year students to university life, to ensure their well-being and to instill a love of learning and service. Professor Sharon Shields has been living in The Commons as a faculty head of house, and she shares her insights about the experience.

To be sure, these are challenging times, but they are laden with opportunity. The practice-orientation and hands-on experiences that have long characterized Peabody’s academic programs will benefit our students in the years to come. Regardless of the short-term difficulties which must be surmounted, we are confident, as ever, that education provides the best long-term solution. Members of the Peabody community—including alumni and parents—share this vision. We have surpassed our campaign goal of $60 million, and we have a new goal of $75 million. Reaching the initial campaign goal is an amazing feat, one that we could not have accomplished without the entire Peabody community. 

Camilla P. Benbow

Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development