The College of Education & Integrative Studies has received a significant gift to establish the Ludwick Professorship in Early Childhood Education.
“This is the cornerstone,” says Peggy Kelly, the college dean. “We have robust credential programs in elementary and secondary education, as well as master’s and doctoral programs. What we’ve been missing is the other end of the education spectrum. This gift addresses that.”
A national search will be launched to fill the position by early 2013, Kelly says. The new professor will act as the liaison to the Children’s Center and will spearhead fundraising for a new facility that can accommodate toddlers and infants, which is not currently available at the center. It will serve as a valuable learning resource, allowing future early childhood education students to unobtrusively observe as well as interact with the children.
“We see the Children’s Center as a key part of the equation,” Kelly says. “Our students and the children who use the center will both benefit.”
The new faculty member will also play a pivotal role in building an education pipeline from community colleges to Cal Poly Pomona. “The community colleges have long had early childhood education programs, and now we’re going to be able to offer students the next step in their career path,” Kelly says. “We will develop credential and leadership programs to address the need for quality preparation in the area.”
All this would not be possible if not for the generosity of longtime benefactors Art and Sarah Ludwick, says university President Michael Ortiz.
“Art and Sarah have been humble, dedicated supporters for a long time,” Ortiz says. “Their imprint on the quality of education at Cal Poly Pomona is evident throughout the campus. They really have been difference-makers.”
Early childhood education has long been a passion for Sarah Ludwick. She focused on the subject in college and has strongly supported it ever since, serving as a director on the board of the Fairplex Child Development Center Foundation.
“The attitude of children toward learning and socialization — their need to be successful — is so important early on,” she says. “The child who doesn’t feel a sense of self-worth at an early age really has a hard time finding it later. It takes talented teachers to nurture that self-image. Helping prepare teachers in this great mission is so important.”
Art Ludwick says everybody wins when children get off to a good start – and great teachers help inspire success.
“Democracy depends on an educated, free-thinking citizenry. Children who get an early boost in their education have a better chance to become productive citizens,” he says. “Teaching is a unique profession. Every day when you go to work you are expanding minds, and the impact grows exponentially. This is about as important a profession as you will find.”
Cal Poly Pomona has embarked on a $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to ensure that a quality college education is within reach for future generations of students. The campaign will strengthen the university’s ability to provide a hands-on education, to prepare students for the changing demands of the workplace, and to increase research and scholarship opportunities. The fundraising campaign relies on the support of the entire campus community — from alumni to faculty and staff to friends of the university. For more information, visit http://campaign.cpp.edu/.