After a national search, Dr. Karen K. Wixson, professor of education at the University of Michigan, has been named dean of UNCG’s School of Education.
Wixson’s tenure begins Jan. 1, when she will succeed the current dean, Dr. Dale H. Schunk. Schunk has held the position since 2001.
“I was immediately attracted to UNCG because of its reputation as an engaged institution, in general, and specifically in the area of education,” Wixson said. “My meetings and conversations with university administrators and School of Education faculty, staff, students and alums served to reinforce this impression and helped me gain an appreciation for the collaborative, collegial environment at UNCG. These are the values and priorities needed to make a difference and I’m delighted to be joining the team effort to ensure high quality educational opportunities for all.”
“As former dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan, Dr. Wixson has proven leadership with administrative management, budgetary responsibility, fund-raising, and grant-getting experience,” said UNCG Provost David H. Perrin. “She is the right person to encourage and inspire our diverse faculty and staff both as individuals and as an academic community with a demonstrated commitment to academic excellence, diversity, equity, and educational opportunity.”
Wixson served as dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan from 1998-2005. Prior to receiving her doctorate in reading education at Syracuse University, she worked as both a remedial reading specialist and a learning disabilities teacher. She has published widely in the areas of literacy curriculum, instruction, and assessment in books and journals such as Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, Elementary School Journal, Review of Research in Education, and the Handbook of Reading Research. She is also an author on the Scott Foresman reading program and co-author of a popular text on the assessment and instruction of reading and writing problems.
Wixson co-directed the federally funded Michigan English Language Arts Framework standards project, and served as co-director and principal investigator of the U.S. Department of Education’s Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement. She has been a long-time consultant to the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading tests, and recently served as a member of several National Research Council committees, and as a member of the extended work for the Common Core English-language Arts standards. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Reading Conference and the International Reading Association and is currently co-chair of the Reading Association’s Commission on Response to Intervention.
Wixson is especially enthused about the recent Common Core State Standards Movement, a state-led effort to define clear and consistent benchmarks for students across the nation. The Common Core initiative is coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
“North Carolina has adopted the Common Core State Standards and is a member of one the two assessment consortia,” she said. “An area of particular importance to the success of these efforts is preparation of both pre-service and in-service education professionals and I am committed to helping the UNCG School of Education play a leadership role in this arena.”
By Michelle Hines