Deborah Stipek to conclude tenure as School of Education dean in summer 2011

Stipek concludes two "very rewarding" terms as education dean and is credited with proving that a School of Education can excel in both theory and practice, without compromising either excellence.

Steve Castillo Deborah Stipek

Deborah Stipek began her tenure as the I. James Quillen Dean at the School of Education in 2001.

Deborah Stipek has announced that she will conclude her tenure as dean of the School of Education (SUSE) in June, after completing two "very rewarding" terms overseeing an expansion of the university’s teacher education, school reform and policy programs.

"Together, we have helped SUSE build on its foundation of academic excellence. We have also expanded our work with schools and communities and research that is both relevant and rigorous," Stipek wrote in a letter to faculty announcing her decision.

"This coming year, I will focus on the opportunities and challenges the new academic year brings. I will also work closely with the school to plan for a smooth and effective transition which ensures the long-term success of important initiatives we embarked on together," Stipek said. After this year, Stipek said she plans to return to the faculty and her own research.

Provost John Etchemendy said a search committee will be appointed this fall, with the intent of naming a new dean who would begin in the summer of 2011.

"I am deeply grateful to Deborah for providing outstanding leadership to the School of Education over the past decade. Under Deborah, the school has launched many successful initiatives focused on improving teaching and learning and establishing stronger ties to both practitioners and policymakers," Etchemendy said. "She has recruited stellar new faculty to the school and established several new degree programs. Deborah has shown that a School of Education can truly excel at both theory and practice, without compromising either excellence.  I will miss working with her." 

Stipek began her tenure as the I. James Quillen Dean at the school in January 2001 and was the second woman to be appointed to a dean post at Stanford. Over the next decade, Stipek focused attention on partnerships with schools and communities, school reform and policy research and the formation of multidisciplinary collaborations across Stanford.

In 2001, at the invitation of the Ravenswood City School District, SUSE opened the East Palo Alto Academy High School as a public charter school serving a community with among the lowest incomes in California. Today, East Palo Alto Academy High has a college admission rate of 96 percent of graduates, with 53 percent admitted to four-year colleges last year – more than twice the rate for California students as a whole.

To encourage Stanford graduates to teach in K-12 schools serving low-income communities, the school used a generous gift to create a $20 million endowment to forgive loans for students who enter the teaching profession in those underserved districts.

As part of the university's Initiative on Improving K-12 Education, three multidisciplinary efforts were launched: the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, the Center for Education Policy Analysis and the Stanford Center for Leadership in Education.

The infrastructure of the school also has been strengthened since 2001, with the number of faculty growing from 44 to 52 and the number of endowed professorships from six to 13. Fifteen new endowed graduate fellowships were added.

The school has also added three new degree programs: the Learning Sciences and Technology Design doctoral program; the Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies master’s program; and the joint MA/JD in Law and Education. In addition, the school established an education minor program for Stanford undergraduates interested in developing an understanding of core issues facing educators and policymakers; and the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) was expanded to prepare elementary as well as secondary teachers.

Physically, the school expanded from two buildings to three, moving into the former Career Development Center that now houses the Barnum Family Center for School and Community Partnerships after a $5.6 million renovation.

Just this past spring, the school announced a $12 million gift from the Jim Joseph Foundation, believed to be the largest gift in the school’s history. The gift will create a concentration in education and Jewish studies focused exclusively on preparing doctoral scholars and researchers.

"I had the good fortune to be at a university that values the role of a school of education and enthusiastically supports the kind of multidisciplinary, problem-focused research we do," Stipek said. "Combined with the most extraordinary faculty and students in the country, we couldn’t go wrong."