On August 17, 2015 I began my first official day as the Interim Dean of the College of Education at Niagara University. Having been at NU for almost 20 years serving as assistant, associate, and full professor, program coordinator, accreditation coordinator, edTPA coordinator, department chair, and associate dean, one might think I had been following a well-thought out plan toward a leadership position in higher education. One would be wrong.
Being a dean is not something I had planned for when I began my career as a faculty member. In fact, it wasn’t something I was considering even a few months ago. Each time I took on a new role in the College of Education, I was simply agreeing to help out for a while. As the late, great Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Well, here I am.
Planned or not, I am very excited to be serving as the Interim Dean. I am fortunate that our former dean, Dr. Debra Colley, is still available on campus and the University is benefiting from her vast experience as she moves into her new role as our Executive Vice President. I am also blessed to be surrounded by outstanding faculty and staff. With diverse experiences and scholarly pursuits, our faculty help to bring education, counseling, and leadership to life in our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, while our administrative staff support candidates from application to graduation, certification, and employment.
As a new administrator, I’m being given advice at every turn. Logan Pearsall Smith said, “It takes a great man to give sound advice tactfully, but a greater to accept it graciously.” I’m not a man and I certainly wouldn’t put myself in the “greater” category, but I am learning to accept advice graciously. One piece of advice I’ve received from multiple sources is that I need to take advantage of social media. Evidently, I need to network and blog and tweet. So today I woke up having never blogged, and by the time I go to sleep tonight I can say that I “have a blog” and I’m LinkedIn with 221 people (I’m pretty sure that’s not good but hopefully my blog will bring me more connections). Maybe tomorrow I will learn to tweet.
I hope to use this blog to serve as a voice on issues that clearly connect with the programs and professions served by the College of Education at Niagara University. As a certified New York state teacher myself, and a daughter, niece, wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, cousin, and granddaughter of New York state teachers, you can be sure that I will be blogging about the issues teachers face on a regular basis. As a mother of two boys (ages 9 and 10), I can promise that I will be sharing my thoughts on child development. As the new dean of programs housed in downtown Toronto, which require approval by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ontario College of Teachers, I hope to share some international insights into the preparation and professional development of teachers and educational leaders across our shared borders. I also hope to highlight the concerns of school and clinical mental health counselors, school psychologists, and leaders in all disciplines as they are addressed in our advanced programs here on campus.
So…thank you to those of you who have read my first blog post, and to those who suggested that I swim deeper in the social media pool. I hope/promise to be more inspiring next time. Until then, you can feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at Chandra Foote, or you can visit our NU College of Education and Human Services Facebook page.