College of Education cuts ribbon on a 'home'

College of Education Dean Dr. Meredith Critchfield speaks during the COE Beautification Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

Dr. Meredith Critchfield said her dream had been realized.

“We are home,” she said.

The Grand Canyon University College of Education Dean was in the third-floor, open-air corridor of Building 42 to cut the ribbon on beautified COE facilities of offices, classrooms and study areas that make up the east wing of a building most know as the Colangelo College of Business.

COE's classrooms and offices have been scattered across campus over the years, from Building 33 to Building 57.

"COE has always had beautiful spaces on campus to host our classes and office hours, but now we have a more permanent home for our students and faculty to connect, and it feels really special. Now our students can feel that sense of community,” she said before the COE Beautification Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. “They have a home.”

Students and faculty attend the ceremony on the third floor of Building 42.

Dozens of education students, faculty and leadership from other colleges filled the corridor, had refreshments and applauded when GCU Provost Dr. Randy Gibb opened with a shout-out to the profession.

“A student never forgets her teacher.”

Gibb said the foundation of the University, going back to 1949, was built on producing teachers that impact our society. “I’m really proud of your team and excited for what the future holds,” he said.

Critchfield followed by saying that there are approximately 26,000 students in COE, ground and online, making it “one of the largest colleges of education in the nation and the world. More than 80,000 graduates have come from our program in just the last 15 years.”

Now they are among those honored in the beautification of the college’s space that includes the addition of a large wall map that highlights what state alumni work in and another wall to honor them, the Lopes Legacy Wall.

A student walks past one of the new graphic walls in the hallway of the College of Education after the ribbon cutting.

"We’ve been spread around, but today we have this space, this special place, that we get to call our own,” Critchfield said before cutting the ribbon. “People have told me this is the most colorful, the most vibrant place, on campus.”

Inside are the alumni walls and a “journey wall” that traces the steps of going through the COE program – from a list of reasons that teachers decide to teach to the support in the education programs and inspiration quotes on the profession. A mural in the faculty office space shouts, “Teach: Change the World” above a giant light bulb.

Another improvement is a model classroom that has the materials and technology, such as a touch screen, that simulate a real modern classroom.

A student walks past the “maker space” study area at the College of Education that features a quote by Nelson Mandela.

All COE classes are now held in the classrooms in the wing, except for a handful in nearby CCOB space. That sense of community created with a home base is important for students, Critchfield said.

One could see that on Wednesday.

As students filed in, they passed the hand-painted mural of College of Arts and Media student Brett Daniel that spells out the mission of the college to lead and educate the next generations of students.

Students and faculty pass a mural painted by a student on the way into the College of Education space.

Inside, they pass the College of Education Lopes Legacy Wall.

“There I am,” said Samantha Ness, pointing to her photograph.

“It’s an honor, especially seeing the people I am on the wall with,” said the alumna, who teaches in the Tolleson Union High School District. “Now I get to be an inspiration as well as the people I looked up to.”

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected]

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Related content:

GCU News: COE leaders share value of teachers, books, friends

GCU News: GCU helps stem teaching, nursing shortages

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