Dr. Jan Fulkerson was recently appointed dean of the Anderson University School of Education for a two-year term, beginning this fall. She has served as the interim dean during the current academic year.
"Dr. Fulkerson has distinguished herself as an effective university professor and administrator through her teaching in the School of Education and in co-directing the Honors Program," said Dr. Marie Morris, vice president for academic affairs and dean. "I am delighted that Dr. Fulkerson has accepted this appointment."
Fulkerson holds a Doctor of Education in educational leadership and curriculum studies from Indiana University, a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Evansville, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Brescia University. In addition, she holds a gifted and talented endorsement from Purdue University and certification in supervision and administration from Butler University. Fulkerson joined the Anderson University faculty in 2001, bringing teaching and administrative experience in the Indiana public school system.
The AU School of Education attracts a large number of students each year into both its undergraduate and graduate programs. Currently, 290 undergraduate students have declared elementary or secondary education majors, while 120 students are enrolled in graduate education programs at AU.
Fulkerson takes leadership of the school at a time when Anderson University education graduates continue to be highly sought in schools, despite the recent economic downturn. Among AU teacher education students who complete year-long, total immersion student-teaching assignments (a one-of-a-kind arrangement in the state of Indiana, according to Fulkerson), 100 percent find employment after graduation. The number remains high for all AU education grads, with 94 percent of graduates finding employment in 2010.
"We are a small university, but we produce excellent teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels," said Fulkerson. "Many principals and teachers have complimented us on the quality of our student teachers. I believe this is due to the Christian environment at AU and the caliber of our programs. There is something special about AU's student teachers, and we are all blessed to work with them and prepare them for their calling to this profession."
Fulkerson said most elementary education majors at AU will graduate with a dual license, qualifying them to also teach special education students or English language learners. This, in turn, contributes to the marketability of AU education grads. In addition, Fulkerson said the university's Transition to Teaching (TIP) program is recognized as one of the best in the state, and graduates of the program have been highly successful in the classroom.
Fulkerson believes the strength of the AU School of Education is rooted in the quality of its faculty, who remain actively engaged in local schools.
"Each professor brings a wealth of experience to our department, as he or she has taught in public or private schools, and many have been administrators and have served in various roles for their school districts and the state," said Fulkerson. "Each of us spends at least one day a week in schools with our students as part of our teaching load. This is very important as we design coursework for future teachers that is relevant and is built around best practices in the classroom."
[Photo: Dr. Jan Fulkerson (center) meets with School of Education professors Rebekah Baker (left) and Donna Albrecht.]
Keeping current with modern technology is important as students transition into their careers. The School of Education's Robert and Marjorie Austin Education Technology Laboratory features state-of-the-art computer systems and SMART board technology that education grads will increasingly encounter in the classroom. Through their experience at AU, graduates are better prepared to make use of this new technology.
For all the success of the education programs at AU, Fulkerson acknowledges there are challenges on both the national and state levels that impact the programs at AU.
"Some of the biggest challenges facing our education program, and those at other schools, are the current trends in online education degrees, changing standards by state and federal government, and the overall political climate with regard to education," said Fulkerson. "I believe for AU to meet these challenges, we need to continue to do what we do best, educate ourselves about the current trends, stay close to our values, and face the challenges head-on."
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.