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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

Profile for University of Memphis


University of Memphis Fall Magazine


University of Memphis Fall Magazine