GCU is home to a wealth of accomplished, dedicated faculty and staff, and our latest addition to the team is no exception.
Dr. Kelly McNeal, our newest Dean of the School of Education, served as a faculty member at William Paterson University from 2006 to 2022. She has been published as an author and reviewer in myriad publications; has served as a panel presenter, invited speaker, and workshop presenter on multiple continents; and earned her PhD in Language, Literacy, and Learning from Fordham University.
We sat down with Dr. McNeal to discuss her new role with Georgian Court and her past work in higher education:
What makes you excited about joining Georgian Court University?
I am honored to have been selected as Georgian Court University’s Dean of the School of Education. As the landscape for teacher preparation and the preparation of advanced school personnel and school leaders continues to change in New Jersey, I am excited about joining. It has a strong history of preparing educational professionals and is dedicated to advancing a strong future.
From your perspective, what differentiates GCU from other universities?
From my perspective, GCU’s Mercy Core Values of Respect, Integrity, Justice, Compassion, and Service differentiate it from other universities. Having a strong preparation at a university where these values are the intentional roots of all behaviors sets a resilient foundation for future teachers, personnel, and school leaders to work with an ethic of care, which is an integral part of today’s changing sociopolitical landscape in education.
As Dean of GCU’s School of Education, what is the primary focus of your work?
As Dean of the GCU School of Education, the focus of my work will be to advance GCU’s vision and goals as they relate to the School of Education. My work will focus on inspiring, nurturing, and facilitating growth and development for faculty, staff, and students as well as upholding high standards throughout the school. This includes enhancing a culture of collaboration which prioritizes meaningful engagement while ensuring the school, faculty, staff, and students adhere to GCU policies and procedures.
As Dean, I will lead the school in related accreditation, outreach, service, and scholarly initiatives that ensure relevance and success. It will be my honor to represent GCU at school, university, and community events. Furthermore, I will be an advocate for students and work to further diversify the student body.
What are some of your goals for the School of Education?
GCU has a strong history of educating high-performing teachers, school personnel, and school leaders. My goal is to build on this remarkable history which has a foundation in the forward-thinking programming that already exists here at the school such as dual-certification programs. I see that it is equally important for me to inspire and support the dedicated, notable faculty and staff.
The landscape of certification is changing in New Jersey, with teacher shortages reaching a dire level. Therefore, a priority will be to creatively work within the School of Education, in collaboration with the other Schools at GCU, to quickly respond to changing legislation so GCU can further serve the New Jersey community by providing the outstanding preparation GCU is known for to more teacher candidates.
Where did you work prior to joining GCU?
I am coming to GCU after spending a decade and a half at William Paterson University. My most recent position at William Paterson University was as Chair and Professor in the Department of Special Education, Professional Counseling, and Disability Studies.
How can students best get in touch with you?
Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members can get in touch with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have an open door policy, so if you are on campus and see my door open, please feel free to stop by, say “hello” and introduce yourself. I am eager to attend campus events where I look forward to meeting GCU community members.