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GSE Dean Virginia Roach Named Among Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Magazine’s 2020 Top 35 Women in Higher Education

In its ninth annual special report recognizing the contributions of women to higher education, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Magazine, highlights Fordham GSE Dean Virginia Roach and 34 other women in education who, according to the magazine, “ . . . have made a difference by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills and making a positive difference in their respective communities.” The magazine also recognized Fordham associate professor of political science and American studies Christina M. Greer, Ph.D.

“We are of course pleased that Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Magazine has chosen to honor Dean Roach and Professor Greer,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “Their scholarship, and their contributions to the life of the University and the public discourse, are numerous and invaluable, and we join Diverse in saluting them.”

The publication noted that during her career, Roach has researched, written, and presented extensively on emerging issues in educational reform, particularly in special education and leadership development of women in domestic and international settings. She has also contributed expertise as editor of Educational Planning from 2009 to 2011 and served on the boards for the International Society of Educational Planning, the United Nations International School, and the Carnegie Project on the Educational Doctorate (CPED).

Roach assumed her current position as dean of the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University on July 1, 2015 and is most proud of her work thus far to support and expand faculty research, enrich relationships with the community, and diversify the faculty and student population. For example, the school has grown its research portfolio four-fold by focusing on interdisciplinary work related to equity. Roach noted, “We instituted a program where we annually host approximately 1,000 middle school students from New York City Catholic schools to give them a sense of life on a university campus.” And, the school has steadily increased the proportion of students of color in the student body through outreach activities, financial aid, and training opportunities for faculty to create and support culturally responsive curriculum.

A key feature of her career has been mentoring women to strive for higher levels of education and career advancement, particularly in leadership positions. This includes proctoring exams for employees taking online courses, career counseling, conducting mock interviews with women, and helping women to discern, articulate and pursue aspirational career goals.

Prior to joining Fordham, she was the dean of the Graduate School of Education at Bank Street College, associate professor and department chair at The George Washington University, and deputy executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. At Bank Street, she successfully led the expansion of online and professional development programming, and created partnerships and programs with institutions in the United States and abroad. She also emphasized new approaches for developing teachers and leaders to serve effectively in diverse educational settings. At George Washington University, she chaired the Department of Educational Leadership, taught masters and doctoral-level courses, directed more than 30 dissertations in the field, and was a member of the Women’s Advisory Council to the Provost. In 2013, she was lauded with the William J. Davis Research Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the University Council for Educational Administration. Roach began her career as a special education teacher.


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