Shealey appointed dean of Rowan's College of Education

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On July 1, Dr. Monika Shealey will become the newest dean in the oldest college at Rowan University. And when she takes over as leader of Rowan’s College of Education, Shealey will do so during a period of profound transformation for the University.

On July 1, Dr. Monika Shealey will become the newest dean in the oldest college at Rowan University. And when she takes over as leader of Rowan’s College of Education, Shealey will do so during a period of profound transformation for the University.

“I’m very impressed with the vision that President (Ali) Houshmand and Provost (James) Newell have laid out at Rowan,” says Shealey, currently the associate dean for teacher education at the School of Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UM-KC). “I’m excited to carry out that vision.”

On July 1, Rowan will become the second comprehensive public research university in the State of New Jersey. With the addition of the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford (formerly the School of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey), also on July 1, the University will become only the second institution in the nation to have two medical schools.

The changes mean that Rowan will expand undergraduate, graduate and doctoral offerings and will double enrollment within a decade. Currently, the University is in the process of hiring 60 new tenure-track faculty, the most in history.

For Shealey, a former classroom special education teacher, the whirlwind changes at Rowan offer big opportunities for the College of Education. Rowan was founded in 1923 as a Normal School to train teachers in South Jersey. Ninety years later, the University is a comprehensive University with eight colleges on four campuses. The College of Education, which began with 236 students in its first year, now boasts nearly 3,000 students.

Shealey was impressed, she says, with Rowan’s commitment to urban education.

Every education major at Rowan must complete coursework in a school in the City of Camden. Meanwhile, the University’s grant-funded Garden State Partnership for Teacher Quality program provides graduate students with full year of classroom “residency” in an urban district as they earn their master’s degrees and certificates of graduate study in English as a second language. Additionally, the college hosts the Rowan Urban Teacher Academy, a two-week summer program that introduces rising high school seniors to urban teaching.

“Our work in urban education is not something I’m going to change,” said Shealey. “I am an urban educator. My real passion is advocating for traditionally underrepresented groups. You find those students in every district.”

The parallels between Rowan and UM-KC are similar, including commitments to urban education, special education, P-12 partnerships, STEM instruction, and professional development schools (PDS), Shealey says. Rowan recently received a national award for its work with PDSs.

Rowan’s College of Education is larger than UM-KC’s and has more undergraduate students aspiring to become classroom teachers.

“The deanship gives me the opportunity to work with undergraduate students,” says Shealey. “I always thought my great contribution to education would be in scholarship and research. But if you can transform a College of Education, what you can accomplish could be exponential.

“By preparing education professionals who will positively impact the lives of learners, their families and their communities, we will live out our mission and values.”

Shealey, who grew up in Florida, earned her bachelor’s degree in specific learning disabilities and her master’s degree in varying exceptionalities from the University of South Florida. She earned her master’s degree in learning disabilities and an educational specialist degree in reading and learning disabilities from the University of Miami and her doctorate in education, with a specialization in exceptional student education, from the University of Central Florida.

She taught special education in classrooms in Florida before deciding to pursue a career in teaching and research in academia.

Newell, Rowan’s provost, sought Shealey out for the dean’s position, a move that resonated with her.

“It was interesting to me that the provost would reach out to me himself,” says Shealey. “I usually get inquiries from search firms, but I had never read an email inquiry from a provost before.”

“We were searching for a transformational leader to propel a very successful college to an even higher standard,” Newell says. “When I spoke with Monika, I knew we had found the right person. She’s an accomplished scholar with the passion, drive and vision to lead our College of Education.”

Shealey says she’s been impressed by the College of Education’s Assessment and Learning Center, a state approved agency that provides independent child study team evaluations, and its Reading Clinic, which offers assessment and tutoring for children that struggle with reading and writing.

“Those centers directly speak to engagement—and to service to the broader community,” Shealey says.

The author of 18 peer-reviewed journal publications and four book chapters, Shealey serves on the editorial boards of Teaching Exceptional Children, Remedial and Special Education and the Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching and Research.

She is the new co-editor of Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners.

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