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College of Education names new dean

Professor Nancy Songer has accepted an offer to serve as dean of the College of Education.

University of Utah Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed announced that professor Nancy Songer has been named as the new dean of the College of Education.

Songer, a recognized researcher in STEM education, is a Fulbright scholar and former dean of Drexel University’s School of Education.

“I am delighted that Professor Songer is joining us as the new dean of the College of Education at the University of Utah. Her breadth of experience and insights, together with her collaborative approach, will help the college and the university continue to shape the future of education,” Reed said.

Songer will begin July 1, 2020.

“Colleges of Education are experts in teaching and learning,” Songer said. “As each day brings new questions about how to ensure quality learning in online and face-to-face formats, I welcome the opportunity to discuss how our college can participate and be a leader in this work.”

A veteran education scholar and researcher, Songer taught at the University of Colorado and the University of Michigan before taking the helm as dean at Drexel from 2014 to 2018. Songer served as chair of a National Academy of Sciences’ Engineering and Medicine Committee from 2017 to 2019 and was elected a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2006. Her Fulbright research into STEM reform has taken her to Turkmenistan and Brazil.

Songer started her career in education as a biologist and received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Davis; a master’s degree in molecular/developmental biology from Tufts University; and a Ph.D. in Science Education and Learning Technologies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Songer said her background in science informs her dedication to STEM education and evidence-based innovations in teaching pedagogy and practice.

“I recognize the importance of critical thinking, diverse viewpoints, and problem solving in addressing the challenges of pre-K through 12 and higher education in Utah,” she said. “I am committed to exploring work that brings the college and the community together towards new impact. Together, we can partner so that our education systems can move forward and all teachers and learners can thrive.”

Songer succeeds Elaine Clark, a long-standing faculty member, former chair of the Department of Educational Psychology, and former director of the School of Psychology program. Clark served as the college’s dean from 2017 to 2020.