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Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Jeanne Marcum Gerlach

jeanne gerlach

CEHS alumna Dr. Jeanne Gerlach has always gone first. She has always been an innovator and a trailblazer. Currently serving as the Associate Vice President for K-16 Initiatives and Dean of the College of Education; University of Texas at Arlington, she answered the call there in 1997 with a charge to build a school of education. Under her leadership, faculty, administrators, and staff worked to create new curricula, programs, and degrees.

Charged in 1997 to build a school of education at UTA, Dr. Gerlach is currently serving her 17th year as founding dean. She is also the Vice President for K-16 initiatives. Under her leadership, UTA faculty, administrators, and staff worked to create new curricula, programs, and degrees, obtaining school status in 1999, and NCATE and college status in 2003. As a leader in urban education, the UTA’s College of Education has gained both state and national recognition.

In addition to her many initiatives and responsibilities at UTA, Dr. Gerlach still manages to teach some coursework.

“It’s so hard to say which role I enjoy more. I love being a member of faculty and an administrator. Administration allows me to really listen to my colleagues’ wants and needs and to break down barriers. Teaching allows me to pass on knowledge to the next generation, because good teaching matters most; no matter the level. That’s a no-brainer. It should always be about what’s best for the classroom.”

Dr. Gerlach recently saw one of her UTA graduates, Shanna Peeples, become the 2015 National Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year Program is the oldest, most prestigious national honors program focusing on excellence in teaching.

She truly has done it all, but before she was a Maverick in Arlington, Dr. Gerlach was a Mountaineer in Morgantown, and there is no doubt that she remains proud of her ties toWVU. With a master’s degree in English education/curriculum and instruction and a doctorate degree in English education from the WVU College of Education and Human Services, Dr. Gerlach credits her professors and experiences at WVU with launching her to success.

Called by previous WVU Provosts Dr. Nancy Lohmann and Dr. Tom LaBell, Dr. Gerlach served as a special assistant to the provost during her time here at the University. In this role, she focused on university budget, housing, Greek and student life, multicultural curricula, and women and gender studies. Dr. Gerlach rebuilt WVU’s English Education Program here at WVU, which soared to become one of the top in the nation. She also launched the WVU site of the Advanced National Writing Project, which is now housed atCEHS.

She comes back to Morgantown every two years for a reunion with all of her doctoral students and spends time with Dr. Rudy Almasy, the chair of her dissertation committee.

“I had fabulous professors at WVU and a great career with amazing opportunities.”

Dr. Gerlach answered the challenges presented to her and forged ahead, and she continues to be bold enough to recognize and appreciate the value of big ideas and smart enough to launch them. She is the epitome of what it means to be a Mountaineer.