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Alumna Jane Stallings, former AERA president and Texas A&M education school dean, passes away

February 17, 2016
Jane Stallings
Jane Stallings
The American Educational Research Association posted this obituary of Jane Stallings, PhD '70, on its website on Feb. 10, 2016.

AERA Past President (1994-1995) Jane Stallings died on January 31. Stallings was Professor Emerita of Teaching, Learning, and Culture, as well as the first female dean, at Texas A&M University.

Stallings was born in Bremond, Indiana to Ruth Pinkerton Smith and Howard Smith, also from Indiana. She attended Ball State University, where she graduated with a degree in Education.

After earning her doctorate from Stanford University, Stallings launched her decades-spanning career as an education researcher, which would take her to Stanford Research Institute, Vanderbilt University, the University of Houston, and Texas A&M University. Throughout her years in the field, she dedicated her efforts to researching and teaching on how children learn, how teachers teach, and the influence of social context. She is also hailed as being a pioneer in instructional time measurement. In addition to her institutional work, Stallings spent a period of time at The World Bank, where she consulted with teacher educators in Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, Brazil, and India.

In 1990, Stallings planned to retire from her position at the University of Houston to focus on her passions of writing and painting. Unexpectedly, the chair of the College of Education Dean’s Search Committee at Texas A&M called upon her to apply for the college’s dean position, which she later accepted, becoming the first female dean of a once all-male military school. During her time as dean, Stallings made huge strides for the college, by increasing female and minority leadership within the College of Education. She enacted a policy of actively pursuing candidates who had promise of bringing diverse perspectives on educational issues, which led to a greater yield of minority and female hired faculty.

As dean, she founded Texas A&M’s Education Dean’s Roundtable, which allowed the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate Texas educators. The university would go on to install the Jane Stallings Student Service Award, which is given annually to students who have demonstrated exceptional service and commitment to the teaching profession.

As an education researcher, Stallings published many research articles, book chapters, and books on the effective use of time in classrooms and studies of effective teacher education. In 2014, Stallings published her first novel, Bridges to Survival: Non-Stop Action Behind Enemy Lines in World War II, which gave voice to the experiences of people like her father and uncles and the circumstances in which they found themselves in World War II.

An In Memoriam is posted in the alumni section of the Stanford Graduate School of Education website.