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Foster Named Dean of College of Education & Professional Studies

Interim Dean Connie Foster has been selected as permanent dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Named to her new post in December and having served as interim dean since February 2002, Foster will continue to lead the College in its mission of preparing educators for the 21st century. She will steer the college through the accreditation process with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as well.

As dean, Foster oversees the academic departments of teacher education, health and human performance, communicative disorders, counseling and school psychology and the social work program. Other duties include administration of student teaching and internships, the Educational Technology Center, the Upward Bound program, the Child Center, University Preschool, the Human Development Center and athletic programs.

She also plans to strengthen linkages with the University's partners including the St. Croix Valley PK-16, Cultural Diversity and Child Center advisory councils.

"Obviously I'm very excited to serve as the dean and look forward to the opportunity," says Foster. "The college has many strong programs and excellent faculty and staff and is in a very solid position to continue to grow and expand its programs. I expect that we will strengthen our ties with the K-12 setting and expand our list of partnerships and outreach programs with area schools. We’ll continue our leadership in teacher technology and training and our visibility in the community and region."

As interim dean, Foster fortified the admissions policy in the elementary education program as well as worked with the University's College of Arts and Sciences and area public schools in securing a "No Child Left Behind" grant. She has also been involved in planning a new Childcare Center facility on campus and advancing the University's PK-16 Teacher Education Model Academy.

Foster is currently on the steering committee for a federal Preparation for Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology Grant between UW-River Falls, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh and the UW System.

Foster has a distinguished academic career at UW-RF. She served as chair of the department of health and human performance as well as athletic director from 1996 to 2002. She served as women's athletic director from 1992 to 1996 and was named full professor in the department of health and human performance in 1992. While under her tenure, women's athletics received the Wisconsin Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic Award for having the highest grade point average in the conference.

From 1984 to 1992 she was an associate and assistant and head coach for women's gymnastics. The WWIAC named her Coach of the Year in 1988 and recognized her contributions to intercollegiate athletics with a certificate of appreciation in 1993.

UW-RF Chancellor Ann Lydecker praised Foster for her legacy of leadership at UW-RF. "Connie is a highly energized person who welcomes the challenges and opportunities to ensuring the College is the best it can be," says Lydecker. "She has a vision and a path for achieving excellence that set her apart from the other candidates. She is an excellent fit for the College, and I know that she is held in high regard by the faculty, staff and students in the College and across the University. Their confidence in her will assist her greatly as the College continues to move forward."

A dedicated educator, Foster is enthusiastic about getting others hooked on teaching as well. "I'd like to bring in more high school students to come to campus in the summer to explore careers as future teachers, particularly students from diverse backgrounds," says Foster. "Our students, faculty and staff are highly important and I believe strongly in professional development as well as opportunities for our students to develop professionally as well."

Foster earned a Ph.D. in sport psychology and physical education from the University of Minnesota in 1983. She has an M.A. in physical education from the University of Southern California and a B.S. in psychology from California State University-Long Beach. Her publications include Perceptual and Motor Skills, Melpomene Institute of Women's Health Research Newsletters and the Journal of Sport Psychology. She is a member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors, the National Association of College Women Athletic Administrators, Phi Delta Kappa International, American Association of University Women, River Falls Rotary Club as well as the River Falls Gymnastics Board. She was president of the Wisconsin Women's Intercollegiate Athletic conference from 1995 to 1997.


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