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UNC School of Education Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick reappointed

Under Dean Abd-El-Khalick’s tenure, the school experienced an 11-place rise in rankings and a 154% increase in total research expenditures
Fouad Abd-El-Khalick feature image

UNC School of Education Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick has been reappointed to another five-year term, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert A. Blouin announced in a campus message on March 19.

“Since his appointment to the school’s deanship in July 2016, Dean Abd-El-Khalick has led a major transformation at the School of Education, strengthening the school’s capacity to achieve its teaching, research and service missions,” wrote Blouin. “The review committee was overwhelmingly positive in its recommendation to reappoint Dean Abd-El-Khalick. I am grateful that, as our state and nation continue to turn to great public universities like Carolina to prepare the next generation of educators and educational researchers, Fouad has positioned us to take new leadership in the field and amplify our impact.”

Under Abd-El-Khalick’s direction, the School of Education has progressed in many initiatives in the Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good strategic plan. This is represented in the school’s growth, increased research funding and impact on educational practice, engagement of the School of Education across the campus and improvement in national rankings.

The school experience an 11-place rise in rankings during his tenure, reaching 24th in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of schools of education. Under Abd-El-Khalick’s leadership, several School of Education academic programs have seen enrollment increases, reflected in a 47% increase in total instructional units taught by School of Education faculty. In the past five years, the school has seen an impressive 154% increase in total research expenditures, reaching its highest-ever level.

During Abd-El-Khalick’s tenure, the school has pursued efforts to expand diversity, equity and inclusion which is leading to a significant rise in undergraduate student diversity. In addition, he has led an ambitious faculty-recruitment campaign that attracted rising stars and leading scholars to join an exceptional faculty. This campaign expanded racial and ethnic diversity among the school’s faculty to its highest level in at least 20 years.

Abd-El-Khalick has expanded fundraising efforts, including those that are funding renovations in Peabody Hall and creating modern teaching, learning and research spaces for School of Education faculty and students. In a nod to the changes sweeping through higher education, he has worked to expand the school’s engagement across the University, including collaborative programs with the College of Arts & Sciences, the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the Gillings School of Global Public Health, the Adams School of Dentistry and the schools of nursing and social work.

Abd-El-Khalick has also worked to directly serve the public. He most recently served on Gov. Cooper’s Commission on Access to a Sound Basic Education, which has issued a set of recommendations regarding increased funding of public K-12 education in North Carolina.

Abd-El-Khalick also is a leading researcher in his field: the teaching and learning about nature of science in precollege grades and in teacher-education settings. His work has impacted this field of scholarship across the globe. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During his first term as dean, he has served as co-editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching and associate editor of the Journal of Science Teacher Education and continued to produce original research.

Before coming to Carolina, Abd-El-Khalick worked for 16 years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he won teaching and research awards, was invested as the Grayce Wicall Gauthier Professor of Education and served as head of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and associate dean for research in the College of Education.

“Carolina has ambitious plans for the School of Education,” wrote Blouin. “I am delighted that Dean Abd-El-Khalick will continue to lead the school as we pursue this work.”

The review committee was chaired by Doug Shackelford, dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and the other committee members are listed below:

    • Wendy Cox, vice dean for professional education and associate professor, Eshelman School of Pharmacy;
    • Dorothy Espelage, William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education, School of Education;
    • Sandrika Freeman, graduate student, School of Education;
    • Megan Garrett, assistant director for development and stewardship, School of Education;
    • Kelly Hogan, teaching professor and associate dean of instructional innovation, College of Arts & Sciences;
    • Martinette Horner, clinical assistant professor, School of Education;
    • Lisa Johnson, student services specialist, School of Education; and
    • Michael D. Priddy, immediate past president, UNC School of Education Alumni Council.