Merrimack College Announces Formation of New School of Education, First Dean Named

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With the goal of educating students in new and different approaches to become teachers for the 21st century, Merrimack College has created a School of Education, it was announced today by President Ronald Champagne.

With education reform a top priority in the United States, and the challenges of strained infrastructure, teacher shortages, lean state budget and performance standards, it is imperative that we work together with PreK- 12 school districts to identify needs and implement solutions that are cost effective while delivering the strongest education for the 21st Century that we can for students

With the goal of educating students in new and different approaches to become teachers for the 21st century, Merrimack College has created a School of Education, it was announced today by President Ronald Champagne.

The creation of the School, which builds on Merrimack’s existing Education Department, will enhance teacher preparation for educating in the 21st century, with an emphasis on those skills that have become and will continue to be in demand and, ultimately, contribute to a highly-skilled workforce. In collaboration with local public and private school districts Pre-K – 12, the School of Education will identify and implement solutions that meet the needs of educators today and in the future.

President Champagne further announced the appointment of Dan W. Butin, Ph.D. as the School of Education’s first dean. He will lead strategic planning efforts that will identify and address the needs of school districts in Massachusetts, while promoting excellence in teaching, scholarship and community service. He will explore partnerships with superintendents in the Merrimack Valley as well as with other institutions of higher education. He will also lead planning for Merrimack’s major educational conference on preparing teachers for the future which will be held in April 2010.

“With education reform a top priority in the United States, and the challenges of strained infrastructure, teacher shortages, lean state budget and performance standards, it is imperative that we work together with PreK- 12 school districts to identify needs and implement solutions that are cost effective while delivering the strongest education for the 21st Century that we can for students,” said Merrimack College President Ronald Champagne. “Merrimack College will work to foster partnerships with our local school districts, provide educators with high-quality academic and practicum experience, and contribute to the overall improvement of the public school system whenever we can.”    

One of the expected long-term outcomes of Merrimack College’s School of Education is to improve teacher training, and to attract and retain teachers to academic fields where educators are underrepresented, such as special education, science and mathematics.

About New Dean, School of Education:
Dan W. Butin, Ph.D., the first dean of Merrimack’s new School of Education, comes to Merrimack having served as assistant dean, Department of Educational Leadership, for Cambridge College’s School of Education. Dr. Butin has a Ph.D. in social foundations of education from the University of Virginia, and is the editor and author of over fifty books, articles, and book chapters, including the books Teaching Social Foundations of Education, and Service-Learning in Theory and Practice: The Future of Community Engagement in Higher Education.

Dr. Butin’s research focuses on issues of educator preparation and policy, and community engagement. He has been the assistant dean of the school of education at Cambridge College and a faculty member at Gettysburg College. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Butin taught middle school, in an adult GED program, and was the chief financial officer of Teacher For America. He currently resides in Beverly, Mass.

About Education at Merrimack College:
In its 61-year history, Merrimack has produced over 2,500 primary and secondary level teachers. At present, Merrimack College offers undergraduate teacher preparation, several master of education degree programs and the Graduate Institute for Teachers which provides non-degree graduate credits, Professional Development Programs (PDP’s) and Continuing Education Units (CPU’s) for continuing education professional development for licensed teachers.

Media Contact:
Heather Notaro
Public Relations, Merrimack College
(978) 837-5195

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