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  May 15, 2000

Schwab Taps State, National Experts
for New Advisory Board

In an unusual move, Richard Schwab, dean of the Neag School of Education, has chosen 16 prominent people to be his personal advisors.

The Dean's Advisory Board, as the group is named, is working closely with Schwab and his colleagues in the Neag School of Education as they strive to become one of the top 10 schools of education in the country.

"We have a great deal to accomplish over these next years," Schwab says. "These people of diverse experiences will provide me counsel and also will identify new resources to fund and meet the goals of our strategic plan."

Schwab discovered that, other than those at Harvard University and Teachers College at Columbia University, advisory boards at schools of education are a rarity.

For business schools, however, it is a different story, and Schwab turned to Thomas Gutteridge, dean of UConn's School of Business for guidance. He also sought assistance from Edward Allenby, vice president of institutional advancement, who played a key role in helping identify potential candidates.

Schwab has spent the past year interviewing more than 50 prospective advisors.

"We wanted to compose a symphony of voices and opinions from a multitude of backgrounds and that's what we have created," he says. "The members represent leaders in business, education, and the public sector. They come from Chicago, Washington and South Africa. Some but not all of them are UConn alumni. The one common thread among them is their deep commitment to public education."

Mary Heslin, a UConn alumna, is one of the group's most enthusiastic participants. At the first meeting,

held May 6, she agreed to become chairperson. A former commissioner of consumer protection for Connecticut, she currently serves as a member of Hartford's Charter Revision Committee. She says she is thrilled about her new role because the school has a vision she believes is attainable.

"I am so impressed with the enthusiasm at the school and with the substance of the programs they are developing," says Heslin. "Not only have the dean and his faculty pinpointed those areas that are critical to the educational needs of our youth, they are developing programs that will put the School of Education on the map."

The development of those programs is where Heslin and her colleagues will play a vital role. For example: U.S. Rep. John Larson, a former teacher, signed onto the board because of his interest in developing math, science and technology; John MacDonald, a former undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Education, will share his inside knowledge of federal programs that could prove useful to the elementary and secondary teacher education faculty and research interests; and Judge Dumisa Ntsebeza, chief investigator of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa who brings international scope to the group, will help guide the development of a K-12 human rights curriculum.

Other national and state leaders whose expertise is being tapped include: Logan Clarke Jr., Cheryl Dickinson, Carmen Effron, Bettye Fletcher, Beverly Greenberg, Diana Jepsen, Howard Klebanoff, Raymond Neag, Raymond Smart, Robin Schader, Karen Timmons and Glegg Watson.

Schwab says he is grateful for all their personal and professional contributions, and particularly appreciates Ray Neag agreeing to become an advisor: "All of this wouldn't be possible without him," Schwab says. "His incredible $21 million endowment to the school was the starting point for us - a foundation upon which to build our programs and our reputation. He opened the door to making our vision for the school come true."

Janice Palmer