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My Bradley Experience

Living My Dream Career at Bradley

It’s amazing to think 42 years have passed since my husband, Edward, and I came to Bradley University to serve in the respective disciplines of economics and teacher education. Over the years we’ve held several leadership roles: myself as chair, dean and interim provost, and Ed as associate dean for the Foster College of Business.

It was an incredible honor to become the first woman to serve as academic dean for the university and in 1987 as the inaugural dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences (EHS). Since then, students, faculty, staff, and administrators became my mentors and helped me establish a team approach to leadership, a thriving learning community and a culture of caring within EHS and beyond.

I am flooded by memories of outstanding faculty, staff and students across EHS and the university. One who comes to mind is Brad Cohen, an inspiring educator and author with Tourette Syndrome. Once, he came to our office to discuss the necessary paperwork for a field placement.

This was in old Westlake Hall, and we were all in very confined spaces. I overheard the interaction because my office was just down the hall, and my door was open. Brad was making some noises and one of our staff came out in the hall and said in a loud voice, “Who’s making all that racket?”

“Oh, please let me explain,” replied Brad. “I have Tourette Syndrome and cannot always control these noises I make.” The staff member understood and apologized immediately.

Brad would have many of these teachable moments during his time at Bradley. In 2008, he co-wrote the book, “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had.” It became a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie and was adapted last year into the Bollywood hit, “Hichki!” (Hiccup!)

Another point of pride for me are the many successful programs EHS has produced, including Bradley’s first campus-based doctoral program in physical therapy, a master’s in dietetics, an online doctorate in nursing (family nurse practitioner) and several additional online graduate degrees and certificates in nursing and counseling. In August, EHS will launch its newest online program, a doctorate (Ed.D.) in educational leadership. In total, the college has more than 2,000 students on campus and online.

These accomplishments would not have happened without our world-class faculty and staff, and I would be remiss if I did not thank them for their hard work over many years. They have designed, developed and implemented programs that serve our students and address national demand. They have built a legacy of which we can be proud.

Finally, it has been my privilege and a career highlight to have participated in the design, renovation and expansion of Westlake Hall in 2012, making it the university’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified building. Since the days when our founder, Lydia Moss Bradley, walked its halls, Westlake will continue to serve Bradley well for many years to come.

Ed and I look forward to this new chapter in our lives and to spending more time traveling and with our extended families. Our lives have been enriched and my career has been a dream come true.

Thank you, Bradley family.

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