Colleges of education face enormous challenges today. The pressure for change and accountability for preparing quality educators and related professionals has never been greater. The College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno takes this challenge seriously and has made tremendous strides in the way we work with the community, embrace innovation, and engage with professionals across varying sectors. We have had many conversations about our identity, our relevance to our students and to the community, the way we talk and think about education, and the future of educator preparation.
The mission of our College is to wholeheartedly embrace innovation, incubate new ideas, solve problems of practice, and seek funding to take the best work forward in an entrepreneurial spirit. To be effective and efficient, we partner with national programs and receive prestigious grants to implement innovative endeavors including NevadaTeach, Nevada's Collaborative Investment in Teaching Excellence (N-CITE), Project ReCharge, and many more.
We also take accountability for student success very seriously. The hallmark of excellence is a relentless focus on analyzing one's results and figuring out how to get better. We ask of ourselves the same accountability that we ask of our students. Through a data-based continuous improvement system, through public reports on our results and through regular accreditation visits, we hold ourselves accountable to our students, graduates, and the public.
According to U.S. News and World Rankings, we are among the top 30 best education colleges in the west, and our online graduate programs rank #36 in the country. In addition, over the last three years, our undergraduate student body has grown 20%, and the number of students in our graduate degree programs has increased 20% in the past year alone. These statistics no doubt reflect our growing effort to prepare and train high-quality students to meet the critical needs of the community, state, and region.
Furthermore, we are proud of the numerous and various teaching, service and research activities that take place here. Our faculty have received accolades and honors too numerous to mention here. While most colleges of education have scuttled their direct service mission years ago, we at UNR's College of Education are going strong. For example, we operate one of the top 10 Head Start programs in the country, serving over 200 children, we deliver an experimental grades 1-3 classroom every year in cooperation with our local school district, and we annually tutor over 300 grade school age struggling readers. Most of this activity occurs in our College of Education building, providing a dynamic atmosphere for teaching and research and perhaps most importantly, reminding us daily of why we are here. Our online course offerings and programs bring the College to the student, wherever he or she may be. And in this regard, we are a leader in the region.
Welcome to the UNR College of Education. I invite you to join us on an incredible educational journey.
Kenneth Coll, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Education