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Humans of the U: Nancy Butler Songer

The College of Education's new dean brings experience in creating deeply engaging and valuable STEM educational experiences.

“Educational challenges have energized me for about 25 years. I grew up in Northern California, where I experienced out-of-classroom learning programs in marine biology and archeology. As an educator, I continue to be challenged in how to foster deeply engaging learning experiences for all.

I've done two different Fulbright awards, one in Turkmenistan. I learned from these cultural exchanges that we are struggling with many of the same challenges. We ask, how do we all empower learners to learn skills and knowledge that has relevance for all of our futures?  It takes many different kinds of expertise to realize these learning environments. We have to think smartly to create learning experiences that help all learners connect with the material they are learning and engage deeply, regardless of context, content, or situation.

College of Education Dean Nancy Butler Songer

I was fortunate to be the Dean of Education at Drexel University in Philadelphia for four years. This experience allowed me to realize new partnerships between our College of Education and local schools, nonprofits, tech companies, and other stakeholders.

I think that the COVID crisis brings us not only new kinds of challenges but also fresh opportunities. It is clear that public schools, private schools, and universities are all challenged by online education. How do we maintain connections and high-quality educational experiences for all? Colleges of Education know a great deal about learning in various modalities, whether face-to-face, hybrid, or entirely online. We can bring ideas and expertise to these conversations.

I see all sorts of opportunities here in Utah, and I'm eager to get to know individuals and host forums where we can share, discuss and problem solve about how we move forward. I am optimistic that we can, together, realize a collective educational vision that addresses today’s challenges and moves us forward.”

Nancy Butler Songer, who began July 1, 2020, as dean of the College of Education