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Cover of Autumn 2002 - Winter 2003 Issue


Sue McCullough

A New Leader for the College of Education and Human Services

Photo of Dr. Sue McCulloughDr. Sue McCullough, who began her deanship Aug. 1, had for seven years been professor and chair of the Department of Educational Administration and Psychological Services at Southwest Texas State University. The SWT College of Education annually graduates 700 teachers, has 3,800 education majors, and was ranked in the top three in 1999 and 2000 in the nationwide Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award competition sponsored by the Association of Teacher Educators. Dr. McCullough's department focused on graduate education in the areas of Educational Leadership, Counseling, School Psychology, and Developmental & Adult Education.

She also has taught and been a program director at Texas Woman's University and the University of Oregon; taught at Ball State University; and was a school principal in Eugene, Oregon, and a kindergarten and Headstart teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a kindergarten teacher in Prince Georges County, Maryland, and a 1st-grade teacher in Peru, Indiana. The Indianapolis native is an honors graduate (in elementary education) of Butler University and has master's and doctoral degrees in school psychology from Ball State University.

"This is a friendly place, and I've really enjoyed it so far," she said after a week on the job. "What attracted me to Longwood were the exciting quality programs already underway."

Dr. McCullough is particularly excited about Longwood's participation in the Renaissance Partnership for Improving Teacher Quality, a five-year initiative, now in its fourth year, by 11 institutions and their partner schools in which teacher candidates devise and use comprehensive, specialized instructional plans called "teacher work samples." Longwood juniors (prior to student teaching) have been using teacher work samples at their partner schools in Prince Edward, Buckingham, Cumberland and Charlotte counties, where, each Monday through Thursday, they take classes half a day and observe and help the classroom teacher for the other half.

"In developing the work sample, the teacher looks at the context in which he or she will be teaching: whether it's a poor neighborhood, whether each student speaks English, is reading at grade level, what knowledge they have," says

Dr. McCullough. "Content, teaching strategies and assessment ­ what worked and what didn't ­ are all part of this, which is a great way to demonstrate accountability. Longwood is one of the leaders in this effort."

Teacher work samples were used this summer by Longwood graduate students in Powhatan County, and this fall 11 trained students are using them in their student-teaching. "We were the first in the nation to use them on the graduate level," says Dr. Barb Chesler, associate professor of education, who coordinates Longwood's effort. The overall project is sponsored by The Renaissance Group, a national consortium of colleges and universities, including Longwood, with a major commitment to teacher preparation.

At Southwest Texas State, the last two years for students in teacher preparation are "field-based; students do their coursework in schools, which involves a lot of observation," the dean says. "Thus, there's a close connection between what you're teaching and the classroom. This is called the professional development school model. Longwood's approach is a little different and is called a school partnership model. We have to decide if we want to move in this direction."

She wants to integrate technology into instruction and research, a longtime research interest of hers ("I'm a 'tech' addict"), and is looking forward to the "variety of programs" she'll work with. "My department at Southwest Texas State was diverse, and I worked with programs similar to those in the education and human services area here. I'm looking forward to learning more about the Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance areas. Longwood has nationally accredited programs in Therapeutic Recreation and Athletic Training. In addition, our undergraduate Social Work program is nationally accredited. These national accreditations provide evidence for the high quality of curriculum and instruction at Longwood."

Dr. McCullough sees "tremendous potential" in Longwood's graduate programs in education. "The Strategic Plan, both for the University and for the College of Education and Human Services (EHS), calls for us to double the number of graduate students," she says. "We currently have about 500 graduate students, approximately 80 percent of whom are in EHS. We need to look at recruitment strategies, at students' needs, and at how we deliver instruction. Maybe we need alternative classes, such as Web-based or a combination of Web-based and face-to-face instruction, and maybe we need to utilize interactive television capabilities."

Dr. McCullough says the results of a recent survey confirm that Longwood's teacher preparation program is "outstanding." Longwood seniors in teacher preparation participated this May in a nationwide survey conducted by an independent survey organization, and their ratings were compared with those of teacher preparation students elsewhere. Longwood ranked first overall among the six benchmark institutions and also first among all 40 participating schools in overall satisfaction with the teacher preparation program. Among all 40 institutions, Longwood ranked in the top three on all but two factors.

The dean, who had lived in Texas for 16 years, is happy to be closer to her children. Her daughter, an attorney who specializes in energy policy, lives in Washington, D.C. (only three blocks from the Capitol), and her son is assistant professor of computer science engineering at Swarthmore College, near Philadelphia. "I lived in D.C. for six years, and both of my children were born there. I used to go camping in the Shenandoah National Park and hiking on the Appalachian trails, so I knew the area and liked its beauty."

She replaces Dr. J. David Smith, who left to become the provost and senior vice chancellor of the University of Virginia's College at Wise.