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U of M receives $3M gift for teaching and learning

U of M receives $3M gift for teaching and learning

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 6:00 pm

The Messenger 06.27.12

The Carolyn L. Wiertelak Chair of Teaching and Learning will be established at the University of Memphis by virtue of a $3 million commitment from Jim and Gina Wiertelak in tribute to his late mother and her 35-year career as an elementary school teacher.
The gift will enable the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences to recruit a nationally-recognized scholar who has a reputation for producing innovative research in the field of early childhood and elementary education.
“Gina and I believe a part of being a good citizen is philanthropy and the support of education. We are blessed to be in a position to accomplish both goals,” Wiertelak said.
“This is an extraordinary gift from two extraordinary people,” said Dr. Shirley Raines, president of the Uni-versity of Memphis. “The commitment to establish the Carolyn L. Wiertelak Chair of Teaching and Learning is a meaningful way to recognize someone who influenced thousands of people through her work as an early childhood educator. With this visionary gift, Jim and Gina Wiertelak will perpetuate his mother’s concern for preparing excellent teachers.”
Dr. Donald Wagner, dean of the college, noted, “The impact of early childhood and elementary educators on children’s future success cannot be overstated. The building blocks for social emotional development are laid in preschool. The Carolyn L. Wiertelak Chair of Teaching and Learning will enhance the reputation of the college’s early childhood and elementary education programs, thus strengthening the university’s ability to attract other renowned educators and researchers.”
U of M’s College of Edu-cation, Health and Human Sciences has a strong foundation upon which to build teacher education. Of the 60 four-year public and private colleges and universities in Tennessee, it is the public institution with the most nationally recognized teacher education programs.
The faculty leads 16 research centers, including the Center for Research in Educational Policy, a state-designated Center of Excellence dedicated to improving Pre-K through 12th grade education.
Through work with the college’s two lab schools, the Barbara K. Lipman Early Childhood School and Research Center and the Campus School, the college’s graduates enter the teaching work force as leaders. The U of M is one of fewer than 100 institutions of higher learning in the United States with such lab schools.

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