Columbus State dean selected for nationally competitive fellowship

Deirdre Greer is dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at Columbus State University.
Deirdre Greer is dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at Columbus State University.

A Columbus State University dean has been selected for a nationally competitive fellowship.

Deirdre Greer, dean of CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions, is one of 17 education leaders out of 29 applicants who received the 2017 Impact Academy fellowship from Austin, Texas-based Deans for Impact, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving teacher preparation.

Charis Anderson, senior director of communications at Deans for Impact, told the Ledger-Enquirer, “The fellowship is focused on helping leaders create data-informed and outcomes-focused cultures within their programs.”

Anderson listed four main criteria for selecting the fellows:

▪ Individual commitment to improving teacher preparation.

▪ Alignment with Deans for Impact's guiding principles.

▪ Willingness to learn alongside other leaders.

▪ Organizational capacity to improve educator preparation.

In an emailed interview, Greer said, “I have found that deans really have a small network of colleagues who really understand what the job of being a dean entails. Being a part of this fellowship is an opportunity for me to grow and learn from deans who have similar experiences and who are committed to mentoring new deans, like me.”

Among what she hopes to learn, Greer said, is “how to balance the work of being a dean. There are many aspects of this job, and it can be easy to get caught up in one or two areas and lose sight of some other very important aspects of the job. There are day-to-day tasks that must get done, as well as taking time to step back and look at the overall status of the College of Education and Health Professions in order to plan for our future, communicate with others in college and identify colleagues within the college who are best suited for moving different projects forward.”

The fellowship will benefit CSU, Greer said, by accelerating her growth as dean, a position she has held since June 2015 after serving one year as interim dean.

“I think it would take me longer to get to the point of really making a significant contribution if I had not been selected to be a part of this fellowship,” Greer said.

Greer added, “I frequently talk about the role of CSU's College of Education and Health Professions in the community as a significant contributor to the quality of life in Columbus and throughout the region. A large percentage of the teachers and nurses in Columbus are graduates of CSU, and it is my intention to continue to graduate outstanding educators and health care professionals and continue to support an increased quality of education and heath care in order to support continued growth and development of the city. I am fortunate that I have great faculty members who share this commitment.”

The yearlong fellowship began with a four-day leadership development conference at Southern Methodist University in July.

“Pre-meeting assignments were related to our leadership styles, strengths and weaknesses of our colleges, and development of some initial plans for utilizing strengths and addressing weaknesses,” Greer said. “During the four days, we worked with our team and the mentor deans to develop a plan of action.”

During the 2017-18 academic year, fellows are expected to complete independent learning modules on their campuses and to participate in periodic phone calls with fellowship coaches and other members of the cohort, Anderson said.

“Fellows may also choose to participate in other experiences during the fellowship year, such as site visits to other teacher-preparation programs,” Anderson said. “Fellows will end the fellowship year with a second in-person learning session, scheduled for July 2018.”