Randy Hitz, dean of the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University, has announced he will retire at the end of the academic year, after a decade leading the largest education school in Oregon.
Since 2006, Hitz has overseen more than 50 education programs and five research centers at PSU and led regional efforts to recruit more diverse teachers, improve teacher quality and strengthen education from early childhood through college.
“Students in Oregon will benefit from Randy’s leadership long after he retires,” said Wim Wiewel, PSU president. “He leaves a legacy of stronger schools, better teachers and a community united behind its children.”
Under his leadership, grants and contracts at the Graduate School of Education have increased from $2.2 million to more than $7.4 million, and fundraising has grown by 500 percent, allowing the school to award more than 100 scholarships per year. Hitz also initiated major changes in the doctoral program that significantly improved graduation rates.
With the goal of creating a seamless system of educator preparation and professional development, Hitz strengthened partnerships with school districts to recruit a diverse population of educators and to facilitate better practicum experiences for aspiring teachers and school administrators.
Hitz also played a major role in creating and leading the Oregon Coalition for Quality Teaching and Learning that led to the Oregon Legislature’s formation of the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning. He introduced Portland to the Cradle to Career concept and helped form the All Hands Raised organization that works to strengthen the education continuum from birth to employment.
“Randy has been very influential in moving the needle on the quality of education in our state,” said Sona Andrews, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “His leadership on local, state and national boards and councils has informed and reformed policy and practice. We are sad to see him step down and wish him the best in his retirement.”
Hitz will continue working through the 2016-17 school year and plans to leave in June 2017. PSU will conduct a national search for a new dean.
“I feel so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful, dedicated professionals,” Hitz wrote Sept. 20 in his retirement announcement to faculty and staff. “You bring to life our motto by living as a learning community, leading in the work you do, and changing the lives of the students you touch directly and those you touch indirectly through your research and through our graduates.”