Ohio State EHE Dean Don Pope-Davis headshot on gray patterned background

Don Pope-Davis, dean of the College of Education and Human Ecology, guides CADREI

At its annual conference, the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions (CADREI) inducted Don Pope-Davis as its new president. He had served for the previous year as president-elect of the council.

The council is a nonprofit, apolitical assembly of 140-plus deans of education from research and land-grant institutions throughout North America. Its purpose is to discuss and formulate plans, policies and programs to ensure that member institutions are effective in preparing graduates.

In speaking of priorities for the council, Pope-Davis outlined three ideas for the coming year.

Supporting intellectual and cultural diversity

“Informed by research, one priority is to continue to develop strategies to bring intellectual and cultural diversity into colleges of education,” he said. “We want to examine approaches that have been successful and provide a set of tools or guidelines for others to use to be successful.”

Pope-Davis has implemented strategies at Ohio State to build lasting intellectual and cultural diversity among faculty, staff and students. “The goal is to have faculty who reflect our shifting student populations, which are increasingly more racially, culturally and linguistically rich,” he said.

“This approach helps to inform our work around such issues as equity and excellence for all. It also ensures a source for students to gain cultural competence and real-world experience."

CADREI can shape dialogues among deans to let them consider possibilities used by their peers as well as best practices. They can then choose what will work for their respective institutions.

Providing professional development for deans

Professional development for deans is a priority for the new president. “For those coming into the deanship we want to help them acquire the requisite skills to manage and lead,” Pope-Davis said. “We recognize that deans lead their respective units with a team of people. We want to present some of the best practices that inform such leadership.”

For example, CADREI offered the New Deans Institute just before the autumn CADREI conference.

Translating research into practice

Pope-Davis emphasized the importance of translational research. “We want to ask ourselves, ‘So we're engaged in this research. How has it changed the community in which we live or our society?’ We don’t do research for its own sake.”

All the CADREI colleges conduct outreach and engagement. Pope-Davis wants to see the value of this work amplified. “We want to produce life-changing ideas,” he said, “to bring benefit to society that is recognized.”

An ambitious agenda for the year

In summarizing his vision for his presidency, Pope-Davis is looking for new ideas to bring to colleges for their consideration.

“As president, my role is to be ambitious for the organization,” he said. “The focus will be on creating transformative ideas that disrupt and lead colleges to adapt to societal needs, so they continue to thrive."

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