Education dean leaves legacy of diversity and partnerships
Dean Bernard Oliver came to Pullman promising change for his college. Oliver, who became dean of the College of Education at Washington State University in July of 1991, focused on expanding the college’s support for diversity (increased representation for minority groups as students, as faculty, and in curriculum) and for partnerships (collaborative relationships with schools and communities that end higher education’s traditional “ivory tower” isolation).
Oliver will leave WSU on Monday (Aug. 25) to become the dean of the School of Education at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He will also fill an endowed chair position: the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation/Missouri Faculty Chair of Teacher Education.
The college he leaves has become a statewide leader in both of his priority areas.

Diversity: Minority under-representation among educators (both in schools and universities) continues despite the increasing diversity in Washington’s K-12 classrooms, says Oliver. “To meet that challenge, we have created the most comprehensive program of multicultural student and faculty recruitment and retention of any college or university in the state. From 1991 to 1997, the number of faculty of color more than doubled — from 5 to 11 — and the number of students of color, undergraduate and graduate, increased from 40 to 95. In addition, our curriculum now reflects the realities of multicultural education,” he said.
“The College of Education is the leader in this state, not only in increasing the diversity of its students, faculty, and staff, but also in infusing diversity issues throughout the curriculum. I don’t know of any institution that is so committed to diversity–not just words on paper, but actually doing it,” Hertica Martin, president of the Washington Alliance of Black School Educators, said.

Partnership: We’re building bridges to schools, communities, families and businesses through the most effective and most broadly-based educational reform network in Washington, Oliver said.
“Our Center for Educational Partnerships, created with a gift of $500,000 from The Boeing Company, is the hub of this statewide collaborative activity that revitalizes both our professional preparation programs and the state’s schools and communities.
“From broad partnerships of 40 reform-minded schools in the League of Schools to individual faculty relationships with K-12 teachers like Verna Adams’ mathematics discourse research in the 7th and 3rd grade classrooms, the partnership center, through director Dennis Ray, is reaching out across Washington to enhance our preparation programs and to offer assistance in reform efforts,” Oliver said.
“Through the partnership center, WSU has become the leader in this state in terms of higher education working with K-12. What WSU has created is unquestionably a national model in building partnerships,” said James Coolican, Washington State Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction.