Two new faces in College of Education

Gabe Davis

As the fall semester gets under way, the College of Education leadership team is introducing two new associate deans. Jackie Blount started her new position on August 2nd replacing Shirley Wood. Roger Smith joined two weeks later on the 14th, replacing Larry Ebbers. Blount and Smith will team together and share the responsibilities of the associate dean position. Blount will focus on the areas of graduate and teacher education and college research, while Smith will focus on undergraduate student needs, international programs, technology transfers and program assessment. Together Smith and Blount also will work as support for the department chairpeople. “I see my job as a supporting role to provide resources for the [four] departments in the college,” Smith said. “I want to have each undergraduate program be as strong as they can be.” The department continues to have an excellent staff and College of Education Dean Walter Gmelch is very excited to work with the new associate deans. “It’s a wonderful leadership team, [with] balance in perspective,” Gmelch said. “Jackie is a wonderful researcher, she is very inquisitive and bright in how she deals with students in teaching. Roger has the history and stability in the college. They are both very credible and very well respected among their colleagues.” Gmelch went on to explain that the leadership team in the College of Education is flat, not a hierarchy. The associate deans’ main responsibility is to support the department chairpeople in their efforts to further their respective departments. “Both Roger and Jackie have a strong department and student perspective in mind,” Gmelch said. One of the ways Smith and Blount plan to keep that student perspective is by each teaching a class this semester. Blount is teaching CNI 204, which she explained is the first class a student takes in the steps to become a teacher. Blount said, “Helping to make our teacher education department stronger is a very important priority for me, so that we will produce amazingly great teachers in the years to come.” Both associate deans were also quick to add that their priority is in continuing to advance the teacher education program. Both feel strongly about the future of elementary and secondary education, which is dependent upon the teachers who come out of the state universities. Smith has been at Iowa State for 24 years, and he previously served as the department chairman of Industrial Technology. Ebbers, who Smith is replacing, chose to go back into teaching and also to head up a major task force team for Iowa State. Blount has been at the college seven years and previously served as the assistant chair of curriculum and instruction. Wood, who Blount is following, has retired from the position.