University of Rochester

Investiture Ceremony Celebrates New Warner School Dean

October 17, 2001

An inaugural ceremony to mark the investiture of Raffaella Borasi as dean of the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Interfaith Chapel on the River Campus.

Borasi is nationally recognized for her work in systemic school reform and widely published in the fields of mathematics education and the professional development of educators. Her research focuses on the concept of teaching through inquiry, which stresses problem solving, students' ownership in the learning process, and the development of communities of learners trying to "make sense" of problems and concepts. Through her work on numerous projects in Rochester-area schools, she has been acknowledged for professional development of educators and for coordinating curriculum development, professional development, and administrative support, which characterizes systemic school reform.

In her brief tenure as dean, Borasi has already launched a Center for Professional Development and Education Reform that offers high-quality professional development programs for area educators and educational leaders and is taking a leadership role in education reform. In fact, her initiation of innovative professional development programs has garnered national attention from government entities and private foundations.

Recently, she secured four professional development grants totaling more than $2 million. Three separate grants from the U.S. Department of Education will enrich the Warner School's teacher and educational leadership preparation programs to more effectively integrate technology into instruction, support the development of a course for history teachers that emphasizes teaching children to evaluate history materials critically, and fund the training of home child care providers and day care center professionals to use a science-based preschool curriculum developed at the Warner School. A fourth grant from the Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund will allow the school to improve the teaching of decision-making skills to education leadership professionals.

For more than 10 years, Borasi's research has been supported by multiple grants from the National Science Foundation and the New York State Department of Education. Most recently, she has been working on an NSF-funded Local Systemic Change project to facilitate mathematics reform in middle schools in four Rochester-area school districts: Brighton, Hilton, Honeoye Falls, and Spencerport.

The author of the groundbreaking 1996 book, Reconceiving Mathematics Instruction: A Focus on Error, Borasi also has co-authored Reading Counts: Expanding the Role of Reading in Mathematics Classrooms, which explores how reading can be integrated successfully into the teaching of inquiry-oriented mathematics. To help train teachers in school mathematics reform, she has created a multi-media packet to assist teachers called Introducing Math Teachers to Inquiry: Framework and Support Materials to Design Professional Development.

Borasi, who holds the Frederica Warner Chair in Education, has filled other leadership positions at the Warner School, including acting dean in 2000-01, chair of the Program in Teaching and Curriculum, and senior associate dean. She joined the faculty of the Warner School in 1985.

At an early age, she developed a passion for mathematics and a talent for making math understandable to others. Borasi graduated from the University of Torino in Italy in 1981. She received a Fulbright scholarship to study in the United States, and earned her doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1986.

The Warner School, established as the College of Education in 1958, offers a broad spectrum of programs for those seeking master's and doctoral degrees in the areas of teaching and curriculum, educational leadership, and counseling and human development. Faculty and students are involved in research, project development, and scholarship on a wide range of educational issues-from the philosophy, sociology and history of education, to professional development and research grounded in the classroom experience and designed to promote effective educational practice and work with students.

Borasi, who is the sixth dean of the Warner School, succeeds Philip Wexler. He held the post for 11 years and is now on leave doing research at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel.