New School of Urban Education

Friday, June 03, 2011

Name change reflects renewed focus

Kendall Whittier classroomThe University of Tulsa recently renamed its education program to reflect its mission to serve the needs of urban schools. On May 18, the TU Board of Trustees approved formally changing the program’s name to the School of Urban Education.

The new School of Urban Education offers revised curricula, expanded faculty – including a new position funded through the Lobeck/Taylor Foundation – and a renewed commitment to serving neighboring elementary and secondary schools and their families. TU education majors already were performing some or all of their student observations in Title I schools.

“Reaching out to local public schools is something we’ve done for a long time,” said Tom Benediktson, dean of the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences. “Having a formal urban education program will leverage our current relationships and resources.”

TU’s education program will place student teachers in urban classrooms, conduct research projects that create urban models for education and offer outreach programs to current teachers, parents and neighbors. Units on multiculturalism have been added to core courses, and plans to extend the urban education approach across the curriculum are progressing.

“Many of our alumni already work in challenging urban environments,” Benediktson said. “They felt called to make a difference at low-performing schools, and we want to prepare them as much as possible.”

Few universities focus on urban education, so the new designation will create niche for the school nationally, while filling a vital need locally.

The program kicked off the Urban Education Speaker Series in early 2011 with Lisa D. Delpit, author of Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. The second speaker was Charles M. Payne, author of So Much Reform So Little Change: The Persistence of Failure in Urban School Reform. All presentations are free and open to the public.


Mona Chamberlin