I am excited to join the College of Education as the new Dean, and I am pleased that you are interested in UCA and our College. The opportunity to serve at such a well-respected university with strong foundations in teacher education and administrator preparation is both a pleasure and privilege. As a graduate of the Arkansas public K-12 education system and a first generation college student, I feel a deep sense of pride in the educational opportunities available to students in the state. Perhaps, more importantly, I feel a strong commitment to give back and to work to assure that all students have access to excellent, inclusive, and transforming, educational experiences. Along with my excitement about the opportunity to further enhance teacher education and to live UCA’s commitment to diversity, I feel at home here. This position clearly fits with my personal and professional commitment to promote the success of institutions that are student-centered, and that recognize diversity, inclusion, and justice as a driving forces and necessary conditions for excellence.
During the last twenty years, it has been my pleasure to serve at three institutions of higher education including Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (2001-2015), the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas (1994-2001), and the University of Kansas (1991-1994; at which I received my doctorate in Special Education). These institutions represent a diverse range of institutional characteristics including a large research university, small private liberal arts colleges, and a teaching centered master’s comprehensive university. The positions I’ve held at these institutions have provided me with valuable teaching, service, research and administrative experiences that have prepared me for a leadership role of this nature.
While in Illinois, I had the opportunity to work with students in East Saint Louis, IL. That experience has reinforced and strengthened my dedication to social justice. My work with the SIUE East Saint Louis Charter High School, led me to write a grant and lead an afterschool service and research project on “grit”. Grit is defined by Dr. Angela Duckworth as the ability to bounce back from setbacks and to achieve long term goals by drawing on students’ determination, persistence, and passion (Duckworth et al., 2007). I worked to create a program that enhances grit skills but did not live at odds with social justice pedagogy by respecting the students, their natural abilities, and the strengths of their communities. The challenges the students faced were systemic and broad-reaching and individual solutions would be insufficient. No matter the location, the community, or the student, I believe that educational institutions can and should work to make a difference, and I know this work has better prepared me to lead in the changing landscape of education.
Along with the faculty, staff, students and alumni, I am eager to boldly lead the way in inspiring, educating, and preparing professionals in education, educational leadership, school counseling, library media, instructional technologies, and higher education personnel administration. I am confident that you will be as impressed by our program, faculty, staff, students, and alumni as I have been.
Victoria Groves-Scott, Ed.D.
University of Central Arkansas
Dean, College of Education
Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101.