New Dean for School of Education

A few of his possessions are unpacked—a Three Stooges cookie jar, photographs of his son and a portrait of John Wayne—but the remainder of boxes will likely wait to be opened.

Dr. James Valadez first weeks as the new dean of the School of Education haven’t been spent settling in to his new office, but instead reaching out to meet the people at the University of Redlands and find out what makes the institution tick.

“We have things to pay attention to,” Valadez said as he discussed his immediate goals. “The faculty here teaches well and is good with the students. I see my role more as one of outreach and research.”

“Establishing partnerships and developing programs requires the leadership of a dean,” he said. “Educational Justice is central to the work I’ve done. Providing equitable education to all, ensuring that education—Redlands puts it out there and practices it. I think that is part of my role, letting schools know we’re serious about it.”

Another point of focus for Valadez is the upcoming California Commission on Teacher Credentialing accreditation process.

“We have to take it very seriously,” he said. “We have to look beyond what is tedious and learn something from it.”

Research is also on his list.

“How do we make an impact? How do we improve scholarly productivity? How do we do research connected to our scholarly life…relevant and practical research?”

Valadez said one of the challenges he faces is a simple one—being new.

“I have to establish my own credibility as a leader, a researcher, a fully equipped educator who is sympathetic to what teachers go through.”

The school also has a challenge, as the recession and state of education in California have students thinking twice about a career in education.

“I don’t know the future,” he said. “But with every down time, there is an up time. There are kids who are going to need teachers, so we need to train the best teachers possible.”

Valadez comes to the University of Redlands from California Lutheran University, where he served as professor, director of doctoral studies and co-chair of the educational leadership program. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from University of California, Santa Cruz; a master’s degree in biology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a published author on subjects including democracy, multiculturalism, and the retention and success of minorities in K-12 schools and higher education.

In his announcement of Valadez’s appointment, Vice President for Academic Affairs David Fite said Valadez’s appointment “comes at an important time for the School and the University.”

After 20 years as a professor, Valadez said he is happy to find himself in this role at the University.

“Redlands is a school where there’s real opportunity to shape a vision.”

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