Professor Loretta Rudd also set to make a difference Though they approach it from opposite ends of the age spectrum, University of Memphis clinical associate professor Loretta Rudd says she and her husband, U of M President M. David Rudd, have a similar passion for educating young people. “At a basketball game some time back, Governor (Bill) Haslam asked us both if we had one pot of money, what would we do with it,” Dr. Loretta Rudd recalls. “I said I would put it toward early care and learning because if you don’t put it there, children will never reach higher education. President Rudd, as you would expect, said ‘higher education.’” It’s a good-natured rivalry, she says, that should benefit the University and city of Memphis in many ways.
Dr. Loretta Rudd is developing a degree program in early care and learning at the University of Memphis with the ultimate goal of improving child outcome.
While President Rudd is focusing on strengthening the U of M’s academic
very interested in childcare,” she recalls.
impossible for many childcare workers to
opportunities for college-age students,
“I found that the individuals who work in
become traditional college students, so
Loretta Rudd is developing a degree pro-
childcare are very well-meaning and hun-
a hybrid pathway where the majority of
gram in early care and learning that has an
gry for more formal training and education.
courses are online is being developed.
ultimate goal of improving child outcome.
“It is not enough to love children, and
“Many of the women that are out there
in my research, 100 percent of childcare
in childcare can’t leave their jobs to come
gap in our K-12 schools until we address
providers say they do this because they love
out and take university classes,” she says.
ages 0-3,” she says.
children. It is not just supposed to be about
“They just can’t. We are looking at creat-
“We will never close that achievement
The way to do this, says the specialist in early
feeding and changing those children, but
ing some short, professional development
childhood development, is to provide those
providing stimulating and enhanced environ-
courses whereby if they take all of them in a
who work in childcare with a better work envi-
ments for their development and preparing
series, it would equal university credit. We’re
ronment and with targeted education.
them for the schoolhouse.”
looking at online and night courses as well.
“It has become my passion to really
In addition, the U of M offers experiential
program will debut in fall 2015; however,
learning credits for job experiences that
in childcare, and to improve their skills and
two of its classes are set for this semester.
relate to the chosen field of study.”
knowledge in an effort to improve child out-
Rudd says both are already full.
come,” says Rudd. “I want to legitimize the field of early care and learning.” The associate professor of education
The U of M has a child development
She says Memphis is the perfect setting for this type of program.
degree program, but she says the early
“I look at our resources that are here:
care and learning program will focus on
the Urban Child Institute, Project Memphis,
psychology says she was drawn to early care
pre-elementary children and will address
PeopleFirst and on and on; I think it is ripe
and learning as a stay-at-home mom while
how to set up a stimulating environment,
for an intervention that can make a dif-
working on her dissertation after the birth of
plan curriculum and assess and guide chil-
ference in our children’s future, which will
her two children.
dren’s behavior in early childcare settings.
then make a difference in our city, state and
“During my doctoral studies, I became 16
The early care and learning degree
improve the working conditions for those
FA L L 2 014
The associate professor says it is
ultimately our nation.” THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
University of Memphis Fall Magazine