New UNLV College of Education dean plans for future

Kim Metcalf is just now getting his feet wet.

Metcalf recently took over the helm at the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“There’s exciting things to get done here,” he said.

Metcalf assumed his post July 1, replacing William Speer, who had served as the interim dean since July 2009. His annual base salary is $206,000. Metcalf previously served as director of institutional research and planning at the University of West Georgia.

He envisions a college that incorporates leadership and innovation. But to develop that vision there needs to be a conversation with faculty and others at the university.

Those talks have already begun, Metcalf said.

His priorities for now are to continue to move the college forward as it emerges from a time of budget cuts and to continue to strengthen relations.

“The economic cuts have hurt the college,” he said. “They’ve hurt every college.”

The college’s overall budget shrank significantly, Metcalf said, and the number of faculty is substantially down. In fiscal year 2008, the college had a total budget of $13.7 million and it had 137 full-time faculty, professional and classified staff.

In fiscal year 2013, the college’s budget was $9.8 million and it had 87.5 full-time faculty, professional and classified staff.

As a result of those budget reductions and the decrease in staff, the college can’t offer as many sections and courses.

Despite those challenges the college is doing good work, he said. The college’s teacher preparation programs recently were rated low by the National Council on Teacher Quality. The college’s highest rated program received one and a half stars.

Metcalf said the report had several inaccuracies and the college is preparing a complete response with correct data. But despite the “serious flaws in the report,” the National Center on Teacher Quality has started a good conversation.

“NCTQ has spurred what we believe to be a potentially valuable national conversation about the criticality of effective professional preparation for educators,” he said.

And as he leads the college, Metcalf also wants to continue to build a working relationship with Gov. Brian Sandoval, lawmakers and the Clark County School District. He especially wants to work with CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, who is also fairly new to the job. As they both venture into their roles, they can start conversations from the beginning, he said, and do innovative things together.

“I do believe there’s a really unique opportunity here … for a partnership between the college and CCSD,” he said.

Skorkowsky took over the fifth-largest public school system in the nation with more than 300,000 students early last month. The district has a history of poor student performance.

Amanda Fulkerson, spokeswoman for the school district, said Tuesday Skorkowsky was on vacation and not available for comment. However, she said Skorkowsky is on the same page as Metcalf.

“We know that it’s imperative to have that,” she said of the partnership with the college.

Those kinds of partnerships help the district in “providing the best education possible so they (the students) can go to UNLV without need for remediation,” Fulkerson said.

Those partnerships work, she said, pointing to the College of Southern Nevada High School, where high school students can take college-level courses. Nine percent of this year’s College of Southern Nevada High School graduates received an associate degree in addition to their high school diploma.

Those students could go straight into UNLV, she said. Such partnerships also help eliminate the need for remediation.

In 2010, 30.1 percent of recent graduates from the School District who enrolled at UNLV were taking remedial courses, according to the summer and fall 2011 Remedial/Developmental Report by the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Contact Yesenia Amaro at yamaro@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0440.

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