The University of California Board of Regents last week voted to establish a School of Education at UC Irvine, giving statewide recognition to the degree programs begun in 1967 under the Office of Teacher Education.

The new school underscores UCI’s leadership in enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in California through the preparation of outstanding K-12 instructors; research on innovative strategies; and strong partnerships with schools, families and communities.

“This is well-deserved validation of the high-quality work by our faculty, students and staff in advancing both the theory and delivery of education at all levels,” said UCI Chancellor Michael Drake. “They have pursued research that will help us continue to improve how we teach and care for our children. This is vital work. Effective and widely accessible education is the key to our future.”

Teacher preparation programs at UCI graduate about 250 prospective California teachers annually – among the most in the University of California system. They are highly recruited; more than 90 percent are placed in state classrooms. About a third of graduates in the single-subject program receive teaching credentials in the high-demand areas of science or math.

The class of 2012 included the first cohort under Cal Teach, a program funded with a $1.4 million grant from the National Math & Science Initiative. Cal Teach addresses the growing need for skilled math and science instructors by making it possible for undergraduates to earn a bachelor’s degree in math or science as well as a teaching credential in just four years.

Additionally, UCI’s education department has been active in community outreach. It’s one of 200 sites for the National Writing Project, which helps improve student writing by elevating the teaching of writing. Since 1984, UCI also has hosted summer writing workshops for pre-K and K-12 students.

In authorizing the school, regents noted the strength of doctoral programs and growth of research labs. The highly competitive Ph.D. program, now in its fifth year, attracts high-quality students from around the world. Eight research labs reside within the education department – focusing on everything from new teaching technologies to student motivation strategies and the effects of child care on behavior and learning.

The unit’s steady climb in U.S. News & World Reportlistings has made it the highest-ranked department of education currently included among the top 50 graduate schools.

“As a result of the outstanding leadership of Deborah Vandell, who has served as education department chair since her appointment in 2006, we are starting a new and exciting chapter at UC Irvine,” said Susan V. Bryant, interim executive vice chancellor & provost. “She has successfully transformed the department into a school.”

Vandell is an internationally recognized scholar in the long-term effects of early child care, after-school programs and strategies to improve K-12 education.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led byChancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit

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