SOE News

Dean Bill McDiarmid announces he is stepping down

Bill McDiarmid, dean of the School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill, has announced that he will step down from the post and return to teaching, effective Jan. 1.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Provost James W. Dean, Jr., shared the news with campus leadership June 8.

“I want to thank Bill McDiarmid for his thoughtful, inspired leadership over the past seven years – and for his commitment and passion for Carolina and the School of Education,’’ said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “I am so happy that he will remain on the faculty, continuing to inspire future educators.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as dean of the School of Education,” McDiarmid said. “I have been very fortunate to give back to Carolina, an institution that has meant so much to me and to generations of my family.”

McDiarmid has served as dean since 2009, leading the school as it built new academic programs, increased diversity among its faculty and prepared for an upcoming capital campaign. He will return to the faculty as the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Education.

Dean will appoint a committee to conduct a national search for a new dean. Dean also has asked Deborah Eaker-Rich, senior associate dean and chief academic officer for the school, to serve as acting dean beginning Jan. 1 and to serve in that role until a new dean has been appointed.

“Dean McDiarmid has strengthened and diversified the faculty at the School of Education, created popular new programs, forged local and international partnerships, secured the largest gift in the history of the school and led internal changes to improve the performance of the school,’’ Dean said. “We will miss his leadership and creativity but are thrilled to know he will remain on the faculty.”

Under McDiarmid’s leadership, the School of Education established several new academic programs and initiatives:

  • Established a new model for teacher preparation in which students will obtain bachelor’s degrees then complete a fifth year of instruction for a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.
  • Established a new Master of Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is expected to begin in Fall 2016. The program is a unique collaboration among the School of Education, the Kenan-Flagler Business School, the School of Information and Library Science and the Department of Computer Science.
  • Established, in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, a new Minor in Education that has been popular with Carolina undergraduates, reaching five-year enrollment targets in the minor’s third year.
  • Reconfigured the school’s Ph.D. program, creating new strands in Policy, Leadership and School Improvement; and, in Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies.
  • Established an International Education concentration in the Master of Arts in Education program.
  • Dramatically increased enrollment in the UNC-BEST program that enables Carolina students to meet the requirements for a teaching license while completing their math or science degree.

McDiarmid was also active in faculty development and organizational restructuring of the school. Under his leadership, the school:

  • Established five new named professorships.
  • Recruited eight new faculty members from under-represented groups.
  • Increased the size of the faculty from 49 to 56.
  • Secured the largest single gift in school history, an estate gift of $3.4 million that will be used to support faculty.
  • Created a new shared governance structure in which faculty play a larger role in school decision-making.
  • Developed new strategic directions.

"Dean McDiarmid has led the School of Education to new horizons in our outreach and impact globally as he also tirelessly advocated for the highest quality educational research, teaching and service,” said Suzanne Gulledge, clinical professor of teacher education and chair of the faculty at the School of Education. “It has been a pleasure to work with Bill in his role as dean, and it will be wonderful to have him as a faculty colleague."

McDiarmid led efforts to establish ties with educational institutions in China, working to create graduate educational opportunities for students from Shanghai’s East China Normal University to enroll in School of Education master’s programs, and establishing a partnership with the Beijing Education Commission to provide professional development for Beijing’s educators.

“Preparing globally knowledgeable and aware educators is not an option – it’s a necessity,” McDiarmid said. “The partnership with East China Normal University will help move us toward this goal, bringing top Chinese graduate students to the school and affording faculty and graduate students opportunities to collaborate on international research as well as teach at ECNU."

McDiarmid is a North Carolina native from Raeford who earned a B.A. degree with Highest Honors in American Studies from Carolina in 1969. He earned an Ed.D. degree in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in 1984.

Prior to returning to Carolina, he served as the Boeing Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. There he led the Carnegie-funded “Teachers for a New Era” project, a national initiative to use evidence drawn from teacher assessments to improve teacher education.

Earlier in his career, he served on the faculties of the University of Alaska-Anchorage, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Michigan State University. He also taught high school history in Athens, Greece, and was a Title I teacher in a remote Alaska Native village.

His research has focused on teacher learning and policies and initiatives to improve teacher preparation. He has received an Outstanding Research Award from the American Educational Research Association.