Pam Grossman Named Dean of the Penn Graduate School of Education

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Media Contact:Ron Ozio | ozio@upenn.edu | 215-898-8658March 26, 2014

Pam Grossman has been named dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, effective Jan. 1, 2015. The announcement was made today by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price. 

A former English teacher, Grossman is currently the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University and faculty director of Stanford’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching. An internationally regarded scholar in the field of teaching and teacher education and a member of the National Academy of Education, she is dedicated to demonstrating how schools of education at research-intensive universities can help improve teaching and learning at all levels. She is also committed to reaching across disciplinary boundaries to address the educational needs of children and families who live in challenging circumstances. 

“With her background, vision and proven leadership skills, Dr. Grossman is a great match for Penn and our Graduate School of Education as we advance our Penn Compact 2020 vision of becoming the model of an inclusive, integrated and impactful university,” Gutmann said. “Pam’s professional career brilliantly blends service as both a K-12 teacher and a scholar at the university level, giving her particular insight into how schools of education can respond to the needs of diverse populations of educators.” 

The author of three books and dozens of articles and reports, Grossman has focused her recent scholarship on the changing landscape of teacher education, especially in New York City, and the opportunities and challenges posed by multiple pathways into teaching. She has taught and written on the most important issues confronting primary and secondary education today, including the recruitment and training of teachers, the role of administrators in teacher retention, the relationship between teacher education and student achievement and the use of observation protocols for professional development.

Grossman is the recipient of funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Institute of Education Sciences, William T. Grant Foundation and Spencer Foundation.

“Pam is committed to expanding the role of research universities in our national conversation about educational quality and improvement,” Price said. “At Stanford, she was a major contributor to the K-12 Initiative, in which she partnered with colleagues across campus to create and implement an inclusive and interdisciplinary vision for helping drive progress in K-12 schools.

“As an outgrowth of this work, Pam helped found and now leads Stanford’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, which brings together faculty with an interest in research, design and development activities that improve the quality of K-12 teaching. The Center is currently focused on supporting the work of early-career teachers and recently received a large gift to launch the Stanford Hollyhock Fellowship program to support and retain early-career high school teachers.”

“I look forward to working with faculty, students and staff in the Graduate School of Education to continue making a positive difference in education here in Philadelphia and around the nation and the world," Grossman said. "Penn is a great research university located in the heart of Philadelphia. This gives GSE unparalleled opportunities to work closely with local schools and educators. It also allows GSE to bring together talent and knowledge from the liberal arts and from Penn's other professional schools to engage in research and development around the kinds of support educators, families, schools and communities need to help children thrive in school."

Reflecting her lifelong passion for education, Grossman worked as a basic skills teacher in New Haven, Conn., after graduating from Yale University. She later taught high school English in California and was a life skills teacher in an Upward Bound Program in Fairbanks, Alaska, before earning a master’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate at Stanford. She then joined the faculty of the University of Washington, where she became the Boeing Professor of Teacher Education before joining the Stanford faculty in 2000. At Stanford, she served as chair of curriculum and teacher education from 2001 to 2005, and she is currently a member of the university-wide promotion and tenure committee.

Grossman succeeds Andy Porter, a preeminent scholar and teacher who has served with distinction as dean since 2007. Porter’s vision as dean – to make Penn GSE “the most intellectually exciting education school in the nation” – has created a stronger and more diverse student body, preeminent teaching and research programs and deep and growing partnerships with the City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia, including those at the Penn Alexander and Lea schools, and with communities around the world.

“We applaud Andy for his service,” Gutmann said. “We also thank him for extending his deanship until Dec. 31 to ensure a seamless transition at GSE.”

“Pam Grossman has spent her career thinking creatively and passionately about improving teaching, teacher education and student learning,” Gutmann said. “She is also an enthusiastic, collaborative and proven leader who will be an outstanding partner to GSE’s faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends. She has the right background, experience and skills to build partnerships across traditional disciplinary boundaries to maximize Penn’s impact on improving educational opportunities for young people around the nation and the world.”

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