The College of Education is a learning and teaching community devoted to equity and excellence, where staff work closely with faculty and administrators in supporting students in earning their degrees and credentials. The College’s staff members are integral to everything we do in the College; including assisting in student recruitment, advising, retention, program culmination, and degree/credential attainment; supporting College and University operations; promoting College programming, events and professional development; and extending our impact through community engagement, accreditation, partnership and development efforts.
This article is the first in a series highlighting the College of Education staff and their work. It shines a light on the Office of Clinical Practice (OCP).
The College is committed to providing our students excellent clinical practice opportunities. The OCP is a college-wide office focused on developing educational partnerships and supporting clinical practice placements for CED students. The office works to place candidates in educational agencies, including school districts, where candidates can practice developing their skills as educators and service professionals. Strategic priorities for the OCP center on fostering partnerships with local schools, community colleges and mental health facilities; administering a data base system to monitor placements and service hours; maintaining updated affiliation agreements; increasing placements in diverse, urban school settings; developing professional educator networks; determining partner needs; and providing ongoing professional development for mentors and supervisors.
Director Dr. Lori Curci-Reed oversees the office and interfaces regularly with school districts and other partners to establish potential placement opportunities. Program Coordinator Christine Krueger has been instrumental in collaborating across the college with program coordinators, advisors, and partners to maintain viable placements for CED students. Christine also has been updating affiliation agreements for programs in collaboration with campus risk management. Amber Thomas, provides support as an Office Coordinator who splits her time between the OCP and Teacher Preparation Advising Center (TPAC).
Working from a student-centered approach is part of the ethos of the OCP, and indeed the College. Christine emphasized this importance by sharing:
I enjoy assisting students in achieving their goals. Navigating all the steps involved in completing a program is not always easy, if I can make it a little easier and a little less stressful for students, then I feel I’ve done my job. I also enjoy working with my fellow staff members on developing programs that add to the overall effectiveness of the programs we offer and offer more opportunities to our students. The College of Education has an incredible staff and facility, they make it a pleasure to come to work every day.
All three members of the OCP have enjoyed career paths in education, prior to their work in the College. Christine, a former secondary education teacher and school counselor, most recently worked as a career specialist at Coastline ROP and as a school counselor at University High School. Amber, who has recently gone back to school for a master’s degree in Library and Information Science, was an office manager in the University Advising Center at CSU Dominguez Hills. Lori was a long-standing classroom teacher and also served as an educational consultant focused on educator professional development.
When asked why she decided to make a career in higher education, Lori replied,
When teaching in another state I was faced with many education policy and curriculum implementation hurdles that I believed were not in the best interest of children. I made a decision that I needed to be able to impact education in a different way, thereby supporting more children in their learning journey. No longer could it be me with my 30+ students each year, I wanted to impact more, and knew I could only do that by helping to support the system through research, teacher education, and educator support