Dean, American University
Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy joined AU in 2016 as the Dean of the School of Education. Previous to this role, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy served as the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (central administration) and Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (in the School of Education) at Johns Hopkins University. She has held appointments as Professor and department chair at Johns Hopkins’ School of Education, Associate Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Maryland, College Park and Assistant Professor and Director of the School Counseling Program at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
Professional colleagues have recognized her with many awards for outstanding multicultural/diversity research, excellence in teaching, and exemplar service. She served as a Faculty Lilly Fellow at the University of Maryland and in 2016, she was selected as an American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow for her significant contributions in scientific achievement and teaching/training in counselor education. Because of her expertise in college advising and counseling, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy was selected to participate as a consultant to the Obama Administration’s Reach Higher Initiative. In July 2014, she was one of the plenary speakers at the White House’s Summit on Higher Education held at Harvard University.
When I read the description of Deans for Impact, I thought, “Finally, here’s an organization for me—a group of deans interested in enhancing educator preparation, learning sciences, and innovative, bold change!” As a new education dean, I was looking for a support network of deans who share my passion for thinking of new ways to connect schools of education to districts in need of well-prepared teachers—teachers armed with the necessary skills and knowledge to support learning and opportunities for students. Essentially, I was searching for a strong support network and the space to think and learn outside of the box!
A pivotal moment in my career in educator preparation was when I received a note of thanks from a former graduate student. The note stated, “Thanks for preparing me for my current job as a school counselor. Although I complained about the amount of work you had us do, I am ready and confident that I can do the job.” I couldn’t have asked for a better compliment. Receiving the note exemplified my life’s work….to ensure that every student, every year, has an exemplary teacher, counselor, school leader, etc.
What excites me most is the impact that our American University graduates will have on the lives of young people and their communities. The prospect of eradicating educational disparities and the uplifting of the profession of teaching keep me going each day!