Ray steps down as senior vice president and dean of faculty
[img_caption src=”https://www.erikson.edu/wp-content/uploads/ray1.jpg” link=”https://www.erikson.edu/about/directory/aisha-ray/” align=”right” alt=”Aisha Ray” caption=”Aisha Ray”]Aisha Ray, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, is stepping down after six years of unparalleled leadership and service to the Erikson community. She will rejoin the faculty after her replacement is named.
Erikson is establishing a committee to conduct a national search and anticipates having a new dean in place by the start of the next academic year.
Accomplishments under Ray’s leadership
An Erikson alumna, Ray oversaw a significant expansion and strengthening of Erikson’s academic offerings, faculty research, and community engagement projects.
- With her guidance, Erikson launched a unique developmentally-informed M.S.W. program and greatly expanded its distance and online learning program, including the online master’s degree in early childhood education and bilingual/ESL certificate.
- The Early Math Collaborative and New Schools Project saw remarkable growth in impact and the number of teachers and students they reach.
- Erikson became a founding member of the Austin Community Early Learning Partnership, a collaborative effort to create a community-wide system of support for young children in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.
- Erikson developed a more intentional focus on racial and economic disparities among young children and how these disparities can be addressed in child care, schools, and the community.
- Ray also led Erikson through its periodic evaluation by its regional accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission. The reaccreditation process will conclude later this spring. Additionally, the M.S.W. program is on track to receive initial accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) next year.
“Aisha will be the first to give credit to the talented team she works with here at Erikson, but she was an integral part of all of the above,” wrote Geoff Nagle, Erikson’s president, in an email to Erikson faculty and staff.
“I could not be happier that Aisha will have more time to pursue her first loves — teaching and research — but I am sad to lose her wise council as a vice president, as she draws on such a deep understanding of and commitment to Erikson.”
Ray has been an instrumental member of the Erikson community for much longer than her six years as dean. Soon after she graduated from Erikson in 1972, she began teaching at the Institute.
She left Erikson in 1979 to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, and subsequently served as a research scientist at the University of Chicago, taught on the faculty of the DePaul University College of Education, and consulted with leading foundations and organizations.
In 1998, Ray returned to Erikson as a faculty member, and in 2009, she became senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty.