Message from the Dean

Dean Cynthia Gerstl-PepinAs the leaves begin to turn, it is a reminder that the academic year is underway. Students and faculty have settled into their courses and the semester has begun to take shape. I recently listened to a student talking about the reason they chose our college here at the University of Vermont. Hearing his response reminded me of the passion, commitment, and drive that all of our students, faculty, and staff have to make a difference in the lives of others. This student's excitement was most evident when he described his student teaching experience, and his countdown to when he gets to do what he loves,"in real life."

In addition to our tremendous faculty scholars, staff members, and students, the College of Education and Social Services has worked locally, nationally, and internationally in order to make a difference in the lives of others. There is no other profession besides education that permeates throughout every aspect of our daily lives. For it is a teacher, whether attached to school or home, who opens the young mind to the many possibilities of the world. It is a teacher who on the first day of school takes that young person, who is both excited about starting school and nervous at the same time, by the hand encourages them to look forward, and guides them on their path of discovery and the generation of new knowledge. It is a teacher who helps provide each young person with the skills necessary to be contributing—economic, social, civil−members of society.

Our students who specialize in the social and human service areas are no less important. For they will be prepared to assist families and children who have difficulty or little knowledge about how to access services or survive when funds are limited and housing is non-existent. They will be prepared to provide critical mental health services for those with a deployed or returned military member. They will be able to respond to the needs of the service members’ child who is trying very hard to be a good student and staunch the tears that threaten to run down their little face.

The students, faculty, and staff in the College of Education and Social Services stand ready, each and every day, to “Make a Difference” in the life of someone else. Our students each year show their commitment to making a difference by contributing more than 190,000 volunteer hours to the Vermont community.

I wish our students, faculty, and staff a wonderful beginning to the semester, and look forward to all of the amazing work that we do here in the College of Education and Social Services.