School of Education Hosts AJCU Deans Conference
In April 2022, Saint Louis University’s School of Education hosted the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Education Deans Conference.
During the 2021-22 year, Gary Ritter, Ph.D., dean of SLU’s School of Education, served as vice-president for the AJCU Education Deans Conference and he will serve as president in the 2022-23 year.
"One of the great benefits of serving in leadership at a Jesuit institution is the opportunity to interact with Jesuit colleagues from across the nation," Ritter said. "I have truly enjoyed working with my dean colleagues over the past four years and am now pleased to play a leadership role in this group. It was especially enjoyable to host this most recent meeting at SLU after being unable to convene in person since March 2020.”
Members of the Education Deans Conference generally meet annually to network, learn from each other and collaborate on initiatives. With 12 members attending representing 10 AJCU institutions, the theme of this year’s conference was, “Reconnect, Reenergize, Reimagine.”
Conference attendees had an opportunity to reconnect with AJCU colleagues, an important goal of the event in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its barriers to travel and in-person gatherings. Stephanie Russell, Ed.D., vice president for mission integration for the AJCU, facilitated several sessions for the conference. She led attendees through a reflection on why they came into this field and why they choose to serve their institution in their current capacity. Assistant professor in SLU’s School of Education, Jaime Welborn, Ph.D., led a session on culturally relevant pedagogy and leadership. During her session, Michelle Young, Ph.D., dean of Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education, asked attendees to consider how to strategically position themselves and their colleges, schools or departments within their institutions and the AJCU network.
The conference wrapped up with sessions that focused on goal-setting and group initiatives, with a focus on how the group can work together for a greater purpose. Conference attendees were treated to dinner at the SLU School of Law where they enjoyed great views of downtown St. Louis and were welcomed by SLU Provost, Michael Lewis, Ph.D. Provost Lewis spoke about the imperative of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at AJCU institutions.
In October, the group will gather at Boston College to continue the work started here at SLU this April.