The dean takes a pop quiz on the new School of Education.

By Doug McPherson

Publish Date: February 23, 2015

 Elizabeth Hinde, Dean of the School of Education. Photo: Dave Neligh

Think back to when you were an MSU Denver student. Wouldn’t it have been fun to turn the tables and give your professor a pop quiz? Well, live vicariously through this article. We peppered Elizabeth Hinde, the founding dean of the new School of Education, with questions about herself, the school and teacher education.
MSU Denver established its School of Education in fall 2014 with a $1.88 million federal grant it received in 2010. The school offers bachelor’s degrees and a master of arts in teaching. Hinde joined MSU Denver in September 2014.
How did your background prepare you for the job? I was the director of teacher preparation at Arizona State University that served nearly 4,000 students. I was mentored by the dean at ASU and I gained a lot of valuable experience there. I’ve also completed the Harvard [University] Management Development Program in higher education. But I’d have to say my most important preparation came from being an elementary school teacher for 20 years.  
What’s your vision for the School of Education? To be one of the premier teacher-preparation programs in the country, so it can positively impact schools in Denver, in Colorado and beyond. University-based teacher preparation is the best hope for preparing teachers for the schools we need.  
What are your thoughts on MSU Denver’s mission of providing an excellent education at an affordable price? That’s one of the things that attracted me to the University. Accessibility to education is one way we achieve excellence as a nation. The heart of teaching is accessibility for all learners and to be affordable means more access. 
How is the School of Education going above and beyond in terms of the education it provides students? First, it starts with passion. The faculty here are incredibly passionate and committed to students. And second, our students and faculty are embedded in the schools — they’re out in the community. 
What differentiates MSU Denver’s School of Education from other institutions? We’re in the heart of Denver and we understand the needs of urban schools and kids. We also have solid partnerships with 17 school districts and we all have mutual respect for each other. And we’re committed to the needs of schools and students by providing a vision for how schools can be in the future. I also want to say that MSU Denver has a wonderful history and track record in education. Teacher education was one of the original programs when the school opened in 1965, and the University has improved along the way. It takes all the resources of a university to make a strong program, and MSU Denver understands that. We’re primed to become a model of teacher preparation throughout the country.
How is MSU Denver preparing our next generation of educators? Our curriculum and programs are cutting-edge and based on research about what’s best for kids and schools. We’re imparting the skills, knowledge and experiences teachers will need to address schools’ needs.
What skills do educators today need to have? You’ll find many different kinds of students together in one classroom, so teachers need to be able to reach all of them, and to be able to use technology like never before. Teachers need to be prepared to teach knowing that their students come from a multitude of backgrounds and with knowledge that was not available to school-age children a generation ago. I read recently that today’s second graders will work in jobs that currently don’t exist, so critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are vital since those thinking skills are necessary to face the challenges that the next generation is likely to face — even if we don’t know the specific jobs they might have.
How is the School of Education innovative in its approach to education? The three keys are partnerships with multiple stakeholders, residency models that put University students in schools for their entire senior year and our relevant and rigorous curricula. All three of these are why it’s an exciting time to be here. We’re in a unique time now for schools and for teacher preparation, and MSU Denver’s School of Education is excited to help lead the way.