Anjoo Sikka was recently appointed the new dean of Geneseo’s Ella Cline Shear School of Education.
Sikka received her doctorate in educational psychology from Mississippi State University and spent the past 18 years at University of Houston-Downtown in Texas. Starting in 1994 as an assistant professor, Sikka earned professor ranking by the time she left Houston. She worked for five years as a university administrator, serving as department chair of the School of Education and assistant dean of the college of humanities and social sciences.
A colleague at the University of Houston-Downtown nominated Sikka for the position at Geneseo and, according to Sikka, she was eager to seize the opportunity. “I loved the energy evident in student work and the focus on academic excellence,” she said. “Geneseo’s teacher education programs are highly regarded.”
Sikka said she felt well prepared for her new appointment, which went into effect on Sept. 1.
“I have served on many boards and have seen firsthand how much teacher education helps at the K-12 through college levels. Teacher education programs truly have an immense impact on educated society,” Sikka said. “I have a real passion for K-12 learner achievement. Teacher education closes the loop between teaching and learner achievement.”
According to Sikka, highly qualified teachers have an enormous effect on the success of their students.
Sikka has also worked on teams to write grant proposals funded by the U.S. Department of Education and has served as an evaluator for teacher education in Texas.
While Sikka’s position will require her to do everything from managing the program budget to troubleshooting with faculty and students, she said she has additional goals that she wishes to fulfill.
“My main priorities are continual student success, good and effective partnerships with school districts that we serve, supporting faculty in their research and making sure we adhere to the highest ethical and legal standards,” Sikka said.
“[The School of Education] is large in terms of programs we have,” Sikka said. “We have to understand how to serve our students and how best to partner with surrounding schools.”
“I think we already do some wonderful things with our programs, but I look forward to building on programs and student-faculty passion,” she said. “Specifically, I want to ensure that we prepare the best teachers possible so they can go out and improve the school districts they work with.”
Sikka acknowledged that her transition into this leadership position has not been seamless. “I think the biggest challenge I face is getting familiar with the inner workings of the institution so that I can achieve the goals I want to achieve,” she said. “Other than that, I am very optimistic and delighted to be here.”
“My experience at Geneseo has been wonderful thus far,” Sikka added. “People are so helpful. I love the climate that is so dedicated to student learning and success. This is truly a university committed to excellence.”