Christopher C. Morphew, PhD
Happy New Year! I hope you celebrated the start of 2018 in good spirits with your family and friends. It’s been five months since I joined the Johns Hopkins School of Education, and I want to take this opportunity to share what’s happening in the school as we enter a new year and our second decade as a stand-alone division.
At Johns Hopkins, we have a longstanding tradition of offering programs and research that combine quality with innovation. I believe strongly that we must continue to dedicate ourselves to innovative—even unconventional—methods of creating and delivering knowledge that build on our history of research-to-practice success. Today, perhaps more than ever before, the field of education is in flux. The need to reform our schools and the way our students learn is fodder for presidential debates. New charter schools are being opened and new educational for-profits are being created to improve our educational system and meet market opportunities. Within this environment, schools of education risk their credibility if they continue to be hemmed in by traditional modes of discovery and practice. Instead, we must work with new types of partners to ensure that our graduates are prepared as educational leaders and entrepreneurs so they can identify and develop evidence-based scholarly and practical solutions, and have the skills to market and implement these new tools.
Our School of Education has an extraordinarily strong record of producing research-to-practice work that extends the boundaries of what schools of education can and should do. The Center for Social Organization of Schools, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has developed and worked with districts around the nation to implement evidence-based models that reinvigorate underperforming schools and provide students with improved chances for success. The Baltimore Education Research Consortium, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is exploring how schoolchildren are navigating the city’s transit system and how public transportation is linked to attendance and educational attainment.
We continue to be dedicated to developing educational leaders and counseling expertise. The need for high-quality school leaders, as well as teachers who are experts in subject matter and pedagogy, is critical to the success of education-reform measures and the creation of a positive school culture. This is particularly important as our schools strive to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse group of student learners. Toward that end, both our Administration and Supervision and Counseling programs excel in providing cultural competency-based learning to promote a deeper understanding of perceived biases to ensure stronger communication and inclusion in school leadership across the State of Maryland.
We need your help to ensure that our degree programs and certificates are accessible to talented students who may not be able to afford to come to the Johns Hopkins School of Education. Currently, our endowment provides us with very little scholarship aid. While many of our students seek out scholarship support, we are able to provide only 2% of our students with financial support. Increasing that percentage is one of my primary goals, and our “10 for 10” program, which aims to create 10 endowed scholarships during our 10th anniversary, is a great way to start making that change. With your help, we can change the lives of our students every year, in perpetuity. The scholarships can be targeted for any discipline or program. If you’re interested, I encourage you to visit our website for more information at education.jhu.edu/10for10/.
Birth and zip code should not dictate destiny. Education has been and continues to be the primary American pathway to opportunity and upward mobility, and eliminating educational inequality is the lifeblood of our work at the School of Education. All of our programs share this goal and it’s a central purpose of mine, whether I’m meeting with prospective donors, making budget decisions, or hiring faculty and staff. We are working to build a robust and innovative research agenda that continues to address the pressing needs of children in Baltimore and throughout the world.
I’m optimistic that the Johns Hopkins School of Education is better positioned than most to contribute significantly to the improvement of our educational system. My optimism is buoyed by the knowledge that you — our alumni and friends — are engaged in the day-to-day work that is essential to improving how we teach and how we learn.
Thank you for your past support of the School of Education, and I hope you’ll join us in supporting our efforts in furthering educational programs and research on behalf of all children.
With warm regards,
Christopher C. Morphew
Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Education