AUBURN – Auburn University recently hosted a group of more than 50 educators, policymakers, business owners, community leaders and administrators from across Alabama to address the future and the problems of the state’s education structure.
Cynthia Reed, professor and director of the College of Education’s Truman Pierce Institute, along with graduate students and guest speakers, led discussions on topics such as how to expand professional development for teachers and school leaders, upgrade classroom technology, develop community partnerships, lower the state’s dropout rate and prepare students to compete nationally and internationally while working within the confines of ever-tightening budgets.
Prior to the summit, Reed hosted five regional education forums around the state to give parents, Alabama State Department of Education officials and local leaders from the school, business and non-profit sectors an opportunity to share their concerns about educational issues affecting pre-K to college levels.
During the summit at Auburn, “Developing Collaborations to Address Educational Issues in Alabama,” participants discussed the findings of the earlier meetings, prioritized areas of need for Alabama and identified courses of action to address them.
The Auburn summit was the culmination of a larger project undertaken by Reed as part of her 2011 Presidential Administrative Fellowship. The fellowship provides senior administrative experience to Auburn faculty and enables them to devote a semester to the development and implementation of a special project. Reed’s over-arching project, “Developing University-Community Collaborations for a Better Alabama,” focused on the creation and enhancement of networks designed to help identify and address educational issues important to the future of the state and nation.
As director of the Truman Pierce Institute, Reed oversees a research and outreach unit committed to the study and improvement of teaching, learning and educational leadership. Her work has enabled her to build close relationships with educational stakeholders at all levels, including classroom teachers, principals, superintendents, university administrators and state policymakers.
“All of the work we do at the Truman Pierce Institute is geared toward building those relationships,” Reed said.
(Contributed by Troy Johnson.)