Message from UCLA Wasserman Dean
Dear Friends of UCLA School of Education & Information Studies,
I begin my term as Wasserman Dean of Education & Information Studies during a moment in our history that will be referenced and studied for years to come. Tens of thousands of people have been protesting against racism, anti-Blackness, police brutality, and social, economic, and educational inequality. It has taken two concurrent pandemics — one new and one old — to push to the fore issues that have been of concern to the School of Education & Information Studies for decades. The long history of injustice and inequality that persists and saturates all aspects of our society has come into sharp focus over the past few months, as we shelter at home and protest in the streets.
Whether in pre-K16 classrooms or on the web, our work confronting inequality is rooted in action. Igniting change: from protests to progress — our goal for the next year — to engage our faculty, students, and staff and to use our extensive and nationally-renowned expertise and resources to actively address the most critical issues facing our society. I am hopeful that our collective knowledge and skill and the groundbreaking work we are doing will make a real difference for the future.
UCLA’s School of Education & Information Studies is leading many new and imperative initiatives that are accelerating our work addressing the most pressing issues we face. In the Department of Education, we are sharing our knowledge about effective remote and public health-sound in-person learning and engagement for K-12 students in our partner schools during the COVID-19 crisis; developing embedded ethnic studies and racial justice curriculum and pedagogy for preK-16 teachers, faculty and education leaders state-wide; and informing leaders in higher education on college students' experiences in distance learning environments. Our experts are advancing high quality educational experiences for all learners, including those with dyslexia and other learning differences. In the Department of Information Studies, our faculty and students are leading groundbreaking work on the growing challenges to democracy in a 21st Century knowledge economy. Our leaders in archival science are expanding the practices of global community archives and the importance of collecting the history and memories of displaced and marginalized communities.
We have recently launched an exciting new undergraduate major, offering a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Social Transformation. This is the first undergraduate degree program in education since 1964, when California moved toward subject matter degrees for future teachers. This new UCLA major lights the way toward a broader understanding of and accessibility to the study of education and recognizes our nation’s schools as the engine of equity and economic opportunity, especially for our most underserved and marginalized communities. I am also thrilled to share that our two Departments plan to launch a joint undergraduate minor in Information and Media Literacy in January 2021. The establishment of an Information Studies undergraduate major is also under discussion. Our increasing presence in undergraduate education brings with it a change to our school name — in fall 2020 we became the UCLA “School of Education & Information Studies.”
Over this coming year, we will draw upon our talent, diversity, and expertise to confront complex challenges, and you will see us actively expanding in strategic new directions. We are honored to be positioned at the very forefront of this work, in California, nationally, and globally. And together with you, we’ll spark the changes needed for a better future.
Christina A. Christie
Wasserman Dean of Education & Information Studies