Meet Fairfield University’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions Dean Laurie Grupp, PhD

Meet Fairfield University’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions Dean Laurie Grupp, PhD

Image of Dean Grupp

Dean Laurie Grupp, PhD

Seven months into her new role as dean of the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP), Laurie Grupp, PhD, shares her background in multicultural bilingual special education, discusses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on teachers and counselors, and reveals what’s on the horizon for GSEAP.

Where do you see opportunities to expand on the strengths of GSEAP’S education and allied professions programming?

On the horizon we would like to develop doctoral level programs, specifically with an Ed.D in educational leadership. Our Master in Social Work program is currently undergoing accreditation review, and once we graduate our first class, we may have an opportunity to consider a doctorate in social work. New doctoral programs would represent significant growth for the School.

GSEAP is unique in the number of programs we offer. All have come from a combination of faculty expertise and commitment to the needs of our community partners and the populations they serve. As we shore up our infrastructure, we need to continue to incorporate data and field-based research to further enrich these programs. We also need to identify what we may be missing within our program offerings, such as preparation for racial equity work. We have a strong school-wide commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and an active EDI committee that is leading us in our efforts to strengthen our identity and commitment to racial, social, and organizational justice.

Educators and counselors have had quite a year with the changes they’ve made to continue to educate and counsel remotely during the pandemic. How do you feel this will impact our teachers and counselors in the future?

We’ve all thought about the long-term effects of the pandemic on the populations we serve. One of my goals is to continue to support our faculty in its research efforts, some of which will study the impact of remote learning and counseling since March of 2020. Several funding opportunities and regional efforts are emerging now in support of our response to needs in the community. Our faculty members are fully engaged in these efforts and they are prepared to be on the cutting edge of research and action in the community.

Work across all disciplines within GSEAP aligns perfectly with Fairfield’s Jesuit mission, where intellectual growth in service to others and social justice are primary. During these difficult times due to the pandemic, racial injustice, and societal challenges, it has become even more important for us to work with our students and community partners to cultivate a spirit of social responsibility and values-based decision-making. What I think our students need now more than ever is guidance on how to advocate for children, family members, and community members who are most vulnerable and who have been adversely impacted by these events.

To read the full interview visit ThinkSpace, Fairfield University's thought leadership blog.

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