Dean Robert Michael has announced his retirement from New Paltz after more than 37 years as an educator and well-known leader in the preparation of teachers for the region and the state. Michael has served as the dean of the School of Education since 1998. As dean, he led the School through a successful national accreditation process (NCATE), oversaw the design of the Old Main Building renovation, increased external funding, established greater linkages with local school districts and increased opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to enter teacher education.
“Dean Michael served as an exemplary role model in terms of his commitment to excellence in teaching, research and service that addressed the real-life issues that affect students, teachers, and schools,” said Dr. Spencer Salend (Educational Studies, Special Education), a colleague of Michael’s since 1981. “In giving back to the community, no one has had a greater impact on the preparation of teachers in the Mid-Hudson Region than Bob Michael. He will be sorely missed.”
Endowed scholarship named in dean’s honor
In honor of his years of service to the College and students, the School of Education Scholar Award Endowment is being named after Michael. Originally established in 2006 by the School of Education Advisory Council to assist students with the cost of textbooks, the $400 award is open to a full-time junior or senior undergraduate student who has been accepted into the School of Education who holds a minimum GPA of 3.0. The student needs to demonstrate financial need and must have completed 60 or more credits.
Always an active advocate for teacher education at the regional and state levels, Michael has been a member of the New York State Teacher Education Advisory Group (TEAG), charged with representing teacher education at meetings with the Commissioner and Associate Commissioner of Education, a board member of the New York Association for Teacher Education, board president of the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and was a member of the Board of SUNY Urban Teacher Education Center (SUTEC), charged with providing guidance to established student teaching sites in New York City. He has also served on the Policy Board of the Mid-Hudson Teacher Center.
Prior to assuming the role of Dean of the School of Education, Bob Michael chaired the Department of Educational Studies and taught in the Special Education Program. His research interests included students and individuals with epilepsy, migrant students with disabilities and helping students with disabilities transition to post-secondary education. He was the founding editor of the “Journal of International Special Needs Education,” and served as editor of several other journals. Recently, he co-edited the book “Current Issues in Teacher Education – History Perspectives and Implications.”
Before joining the faculty at New Paltz, Michael was a special education teacher in Falmouth, Maine. He holds a B.S. in elementary and special education and he earned his Master’s Degree in special education from the University of Southern California where he was a student of Leo Buscaglia, renowned lecturer and best-selling author of books on love and life, including “Love,” “Living, Loving and Learning,” and “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf.” His Ph.D. in curriculum and teaching is from Fordham University, and he holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in educational administration and supervision from New Paltz.
Michael began his career at New Paltz in June 1974 as a visiting assistant professor in educational studies. In 1988 he became the coordinator of special education programs and in 1989 became associate professor and in fall 1994, he was appointed to a three-year appointment as chair of the Department of Educational Studies. In 1996 Michael was appointed to full professor. In 1997 he was appointed interim dean of the School of Education and in 1998 Michael was appointed dean of the School of Education.
Over the years, Michael has also found time to participate on a wide range of college committees, including the Graduate Council, the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee, the Department of Educational Studies Personnel Committee and the College Advisory Committee for Services for Handicapped Students.
A sampling of the professional organizations he has belonged to includes the Council for Exceptional Children, the Epilepsy Foundation of America, the Mid-Hudson (NY) Epilepsy Society, and the Association of NYS Educators of the Emotionally Disturbed.
At the heart of it all, a teacher’s teacher
Michael is first and foremost an educator. Undergraduate courses he has taught over the years include Psychology of Exceptional Children, Methods and Materials in Special Education, Diagnosis and Assessment in Special Education, and Fieldwork in Special Education. Graduate-level courses have included Education of Students with Special Learning Needs, Diagnostic Prescriptive Teaching in Special Education, Psychology of Exceptional Children, and Mainstreaming Exceptional Children.
A retirement reception for Bob Michael is planned for early in 2011. An e-mail announcement will be sent to the campus once a date has been chosen.