Dr. Judi Wilson, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Augusta University, was recently named an Impact Academy fellow through national nonprofit organization Deans for Impact. Wilson joins a cohort of leaders chosen for their commitment to improving educator preparation while highlighting equity.
“I was honored to be selected to participate in Deans for Impact. It’s something that I wanted to do for a number of years,” said Wilson.
The 2022-23 Impact Academy fellowship combines monthly virtual sessions and two in-person gatherings with learning modules and leadership coaching. Fellows strengthen their ability to engage faculty, staff and K-12 partner schools in a mission for change grounded in a strong understanding about how students learn.
The first gathering took educators to Austin, Texas, for a weeklong intensive session this summer. There, leaders discussed their own experiences in educator preparation and realized many of their issues were common.
“We found that we faced similar challenges — whether we lived in Georgia or California or Florida — around the teacher shortage, around accountability, around how we can become better leaders of our team, and how we can lead through the lens of equity.”
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a major shift in traditional classroom learning. Now, academic program managers face a different kind of challenge as they prepare teachers to identify and address educational inequities. More than ever, Wilson said, the field needs leaders who can foster individual and organizational learning and ensure that all children have access to content-rich instruction.
“We reflect on what’s working and what’s not. How can I be a better leader to our team? Things are still swirling and changing around us even as we speak. How can we be responsive to society’s needs and produce the highest quality teacher that we possibly can? It was a powerful experience,” said Wilson.
Wilson is one of 20 leaders announced as part of this fellowship’s seventh cohort. Since 2015, Deans for Impact has supported more than 100 leaders of educator preparation programs through the Impact Academy, positioning them to advocate for more equitable systems of teaching and learning.