Neag School Welcomes New Director of Teacher Education

Kenneth Palmer

UConn’s Neag University of Training has welcomed a new director of its Workplace of Instructor Education and learning, Alyssa Hadley Dunn. As of Jan. 1, Dunn oversees the Neag School’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s Instructor Planning Program and its Instructor Certification Software for Higher education Graduates 

“I am excited to be back again in Connecticut,” suggests Dunn, who is initially from Waterbury. “UConn’s teacher education and learning programs are little enough to supply person attention and guidance to college students, but major sufficient that our work and steps make a difference statewide. It’s just the correct dimensions for building a big difference with equally learners and neighborhood communities.” 

A previous large university English trainer, Dunn’s latest research and provider focuses on urban instruction for social and racial justice. She research how to most effective put together and aid academics to perform in urban colleges and how to teach for justice and equity amid school guidelines and reforms that negatively effects teachers’ doing the job situations and students’ studying problems.  

“Through her scholarship, training, and provider, Dr. Dunn has distinguished herself as just one of the preeminent scholars in the field of teacher education and learning,” says Neag College Dean Jason G. Irizarry. “Her passion and motivation to social justice and instructional fairness resonate with our commitments in the Neag Faculty, and I am sure that she will make profound contributions to the Faculty, the broader College, and the communities we serve.” 

Dunn’s undergraduate decades at Boston School to start with introduced her to social justice in schooling. The School was collaborating in a “Teachers for a New Era” grant, which organized teachers to operate in urban faculties.  

“Everything that has happened in my everyday living because then has been mainly because I had supportive college and instructors who actually cared about and have been dedicated to city education and learning for social justice,” she suggests. 

As a result of her scholarship, instructing, and assistance, Dr. Dunn has distinguished herself as one particular of the preeminent scholars in the subject of trainer education and learning.” — Jason G. Irizarry, Dean of the Neag Faculty of Instruction

Dunn went on to get paid her master’s degree from Emory University. It was there that a faculty member inspired her to merge her enthusiasm for city schooling with trainer schooling.  

“Even however I experienced been geared up as a instructor, I truly never considered about who was educating me to teach,” Dunn claims. “I liked educating significant faculty English, but I also adore teaching people today about pedagogy and how the globe outdoors the classroom impacts what comes about to instructors and college students.” 

She ongoing to analyze at Emory and concluded her Ph.D. in 2011. Given that then, Dunn has been a trainer educator, very first at Georgia Condition University, then Michigan Condition University, and now UConn.   

“My mentors in my undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral packages all served me see the value of the contexts – social, historic, and political – in which teaching and learning happens,” she suggests. “You never just have to have to know the articles to be a superior instructor, you require to comprehend small children, families, histories, and communities.”  

That context informs Dunn’s overall body of investigation, which has spanned finding out teachers’ general public resignation letters and why they enter and depart the occupation, as effectively as teachers’ conclusion-making following the 2016 election to assistance marginalized college students. Most recently, she revealed a ebook – “Teaching on Times After: Training for Fairness in the Wake of Injustice”, which is also accessible in audio structure – investigating what academics are performing in the classroom on other “days after” not just elections, but also other nationwide traumas, tragedies, and even triumphs.  

“Right just before the pandemic, I began to job interview instructors close to the state about what they did on days immediately after, how they designed conclusions on what to discuss with their pupils, and what they did if they felt like an ideological outsider in their community,” Dunn states.  

Her interviews with hundreds of instructors and learners knowledgeable her concept of “Days Just after Pedagogy.” Scholar spotlights in the e-book describe why this kind of a teaching approach is desired, while instructors describe becoming explained to to keep neutral and impartial on days immediately after but why and how they didn’t. To accompany the book, Dunn also curates an on the web mastering local community by way of social media. 

UConn’s trainer education and learning plans are smaller plenty of to present particular person focus and guidance to students, but major adequate that our operate and steps make a difference statewide. — Alyssa Hadley Dunn, director of the Neag School’s Place of work of Teacher Schooling

“The 1st group of 30 academics I interviewed have been in all various contexts: rural, suburban, urban, diverse states, various political contexts,” she states. “They felt like they were being the only ones executing this operate in their faculties. They stated, ‘I need some type of virtual experienced finding out group wherever I can hook up with other folks on days after to discover out what they’re carrying out.’” 

What began as a platform for all those 30 academics ballooned into 2,000 team associates in summer time 2020 adhering to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Each time a thing happens in the entire world, Dunn and other instructors share assets on the group page and the team continues to mature. Right after the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, the group grew to 16,000 customers. As of this month, the team has a lot more than 20,000 members.  

“This has revealed me that this perform is genuinely obtaining an influence not just in academia, but lecturers are also working with it,” she claims. “That would make me really feel like it’s acquiring a lot more of an impression than any report I could publish in a journal, mainly because teachers have prepared access to making use of analysis to make pedagogical selections. Even though I’m grateful that this study on days following injustice exists, I also hate that it has to.” 

Dunn is now channeling this do the job into making ready the next era of lecturers at the Neag School, although also committing to switching the units that hinder her students’ foreseeable future do the job. She claims she’s enthusiastic about the option to think collectively with college, workers, and learners about how to make software-vast modifications towards equity and justice, along with other plans she has set for herself in her new position.  

“It’s superb how the Neag School focuses on recruiting and retaining learners of shade,” Dunn says. “That is something I’m fired up to learn extra about and be involved in. I would also like to guidance UConn faculty in becoming scholar-activists for instructional insurance policies in the point out and over and above.” 

As a result of it all, she claims she’s most wanting forward to meeting and speaking with college students.  

“Even as we convey to pre-services instructors to pay attention to their learners and listen to what they have to say, in trainer instruction we sometimes have a really hard time listening to our students about what they want and will need,” Dunn states. “I’m actually psyched to involve our college students in far more selection-making processes so they can feel far more agentic in their possess instruction.” 

To find out far more about the UConn Neag Faculty of Education’s Business office of Trainer Education and learning and its packages, check out and adhere to the Neag University on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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