Dr. Loury Floyd standing in front of the School of Education on UNCP's campus. PN Photo/Zachary C. Young
Loury Ollison Floyd, Ph.D., is the newly appointed dean of the School of Education at UNCP. Floyd hopes the department will develop graduates who are change agents, teachers who can orchestrate and facilitate change in their respective communities. “We assist them with building the tools they need to impact the next generation. The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery,” said Floyd.
Before working for UNCP, Floyd was the associate dean for Undergraduate Programs at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. With a proven track record in higher education that spans over 23 years, Floyd is confident that her experience will serve her well in her new role.
Floyd says that UNCP’s School of Education has a dynamic group of faculty. With many of them being new, she views this as an opportunity for growth. “Having experienced the tenure and promotion process, I consider it a privilege to mentor those faculty and assist them along their career journey,” said Floyd.
“I’ve been given a wonderful education and blessed with great life experiences. Now I can use that in this part of North Carolina and build on the legacy that’s already started,” said Floyd. Born and raised in Pamlico County, Floyd understands the challenges that students from rural communities in the state face.
Floyd believes that educating future teachers about minorities and culturally responsive pedagogies will help bridge the gap in classrooms. “Understand where students are and meet them there. We don’t expect them to change their lives to meet us because they are children. We fill in that gap and then bring them along,” said Floyd.
Currently, the School of Education at UNCP has a Memo of Understanding with 11 school districts in southeastern North Carolina, including Bladen, Cumberland, Robeson, and Scotland Counties.
Floyd noted that the School of Education is in the process of applying for the Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity federal grant. Opportunities like this allow UNCP to capitalize on state and federal funds, and to continue “changing lives through education,” one of Chancellor Cummings’ favorite mottos. Floyd is hopeful this will help meet some of the needs of Robeson County and surrounding areas.
Floyd has a vision of securing additional grant funding that will create mobile hot spots. These would be for school children who normally do not have internet access. She added that major technology companies are interested in what happens in rural America. “A brand-new device is no good without the ability to connect to the internet,” says Floyd.
“For high school freshmen and sophomores who otherwise might not consider higher education, being right here in the community, this would show them what’s possible. UNCP can have a hand in systematically ensuring high school students are ready for college,” Floyd said, floating the idea of UNCP having an early college on campus in the future.