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K-State Today

March 28, 2012

Experienced elementary educator and professor named dean of College of Education

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

An educator who has taught both kindergarteners and college students during her career will be Kansas State University's next dean of the College of Education.

Debbie Mercer, a professor and the college's associate dean for teacher education, will begin her role as dean July 1. She succeeds Michael Holen, who announced in June 2011 that he would begin phased retirement at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year.

"As Debbie Mercer takes up the role as dean of the College of Education, it will be great for Kansas State University," said Provost April Mason. "She will be the college's leader of K-State 2025. The College of Education plays an important role in obtaining our goal of becoming a top 50 public research university."

Mercer's research and academic interests include assessment of teaching and learning, accreditation, children's literature and education policy.

"I am honored to be selected to serve as the dean for the College of Education at Kansas State University," Mercer said. "From many perspectives, I take great pride in the college and our impact on our state, nation and world as we live our vision of preparing knowledgeable, ethical, caring decision-makers. Reaching this goal is driven by effective instruction, quality programs, strong partnerships, meaningful service and significant scholarly activities and research."

Mercer said the college has caring, knowledgeable faculty members who not only love to teach but who are dedicated to research and scholarship in their fields. The faculty are academicians as well as practitioners and share knowledge grounded both in theory and professional experiences, she said.

"I look forward to enhancing the positive impact on the lives of our students, partners, community, university and specialized professions through our teaching, service and scholarly activity as the college contributes to the Vision 2025 strategic plan. Exciting opportunities are in our future," she said.

Before coming to the university in June 2010, Mercer was at Fort Hays State University for 12 years. At the College of Education and Technology she was assistant dean for professional services and the coordinator for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. After serving as the college's interim dean beginning in 2005, the college named her dean the following year.

Mercer began her career at USD 481 in Hope, Kan., where she was a library media specialist and kindergarten teacher.

Mercer is a Kansas State University alumna several times over. She earned bachelor's degrees in family and child development and elementary education in 1984 and 1988, respectively. She earned a master's degree in elementary education in 1996 and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in 1999.