Mary Baldwin Launches College of Education

August 27, 2014

A leader in the field of education for many years, Mary Baldwin University is adopting a new model for its undergraduate and graduate education programs, elevating a longstanding academic strength into a flagship program.

In launching the College of Education this fall, Mary Baldwin consolidates management of financial resources, deployment of faculty and staff, and development of curriculum for one of its most popular disciplines. The move enables the college to serve students at all levels more effectively and to better support faculty. It also positions the college for future growth.

The new College of Education includes four pathways that have been part of education at Mary Baldwin for several years, but administered through different academic units: an undergraduate degree with teacher licensure available to students in the Residential College for Women as well as the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Education (MEd) graduate programs, post-baccalaureate teacher licensure (PBTL), and non-licensure certificate and professional development offerings.

r potter headshot

“Our most important goal is to deliver the highest quality instruction possible through the most effective and efficient programs, and to make the path clear for all of our education students,” said Rachel Potter, longtime educator and administrator who has been chosen as dean of the new College of Education.

Also new is an interdisciplinary major, liberal arts and educational studies, which will help clarify for undergraduates the courses needed to meet Mary Baldwin’s general education requirements as well as those needed to earn Virginia teacher licensure. The major likely will be most attractive to students seeking an elementary education endorsement who will need to teach a broad range of subjects.

Mary Baldwin also plans to soon offer an add-on endorsement in English as a second language, which is a growing need in the Shenandoah Valley. Among the rich array of options in the MEd at Mary Baldwin is Environment-Based Learning, which regularly garners media attention. Recent expansion has included new concentrations in adult and higher education and applied behavior analysis.

In the coming year, Mary Baldwin administrators will explore a physical relocation of College of Education offices, which will centralize operations and improve visibility. There is also potential to add instructional spaces — including those designed to mimic an elementary or secondary classroom — with such a move.

 New Faces in Education

The College of Education welcomes two new faculty members this fall. Pamela Bailey, assistant professor of education, holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State College in secondary mathematics education. She also earned a MA in education, specializing in diverse learners, from the University of Phoenix. Her PhD is from George Mason University where her degree was in mathematics education leadership with a minor in administration and supervision.


Prior to coming to Mary Baldwin, Bailey worked at George Mason University as an assistant professor, teaching courses in mathematics education and secondary mathematics education. She also worked for several years as the secondary mathematics coordinator in Spotsylvania County schools and as a secondary math teacher in Stafford and Westmoreland Counties.

Emily Ely is an assistant professor of reading education at Mary Baldwin University. In addition to teaching, Ely advises graduate students and is developing a reading endorsement program. She also conducts research on teacher education and literacy instruction, and presents findings at conferences such as the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Prior to joining the faculty at Mary Baldwin, Ely taught kindergarten in an extended foreign language program in Miami, trained K-5th grade teachers as a reading coach, instructed undergraduate and graduate level courses at the University of Virginia (UVa), supervised student teachers, and taught music to preschoolers. She served as chair of the scholarship and professional development committee of education council at UVa through which she organized events to improve teacher readiness and promote transfer of research into the classroom. Additionally, she volunteered her time training teachers in Rwanda.


Ely earned her BA in elementary education and her MEd in reading education K-12 from the University of Miami and her PhD in special education from UVa. Through teaching and research, she aims to improve the outcomes of students at-risk for or with learning disabilities by enhancing the quality of reading instruction in economically and culturally diverse settings. In 2013, the teacher education division of CEC granted her an Outstanding Publication Award.