The College of Education and Human Sciences’ new building being constructed on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s City Campus will be named Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall. The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the designation in honor of the late early-childhood education expert at its April 8 meeting.
“This naming is very special for our CEHS community, and it’s fitting that a building designed to make teaching and learning visible be named for Carolyn Pope Edwards,” said Sherri Jones, dean of education and human sciences. “She was a true pioneer in helping children and adults gain insight into the process of learning through inquiry, observation and reflection.”
Edwards was a faculty member at Nebraska for 18 years. Her life mission was raising the quality of young children’s education by understanding how they develop and thrive cognitively, socially and emotionally. In tireless pursuit of that mission, Edwards taught and mentored undergraduate and graduate students on campus and through study-abroad tours. She traveled extensively to Italy, China and other countries, educating child care professionals and delivering countless public addresses, workshops and teacher-training sessions.
Edwards studied the Reggio model, a pioneering approach to early childhood education developed in the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. She became an advocate of the approach and was instrumental in its adoption to improve learning environments for children.
Her book, “The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education,” written with George Foreman and Lella Gandini, documented the many ways children communicate their thoughts and ideas. It also examined how Reggio schools foster learning through that communication. The book was translated into numerous languages and became a central point of reference for professionals working in early childhood education.
Edwards’ many professional honors included the Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award from the College of Education and Human Sciences, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, and the University of Nebraska’s Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award. She died in 2018.
The new building replaces Mabel Lee Hall on 14th Street, between Vine and W streets. Mabel Lee Hall was dedicated in 1968 as the Women’s Physical Education Building and renamed in 1977 to honor Lee. The intramural sports fields directly east of Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall will retain the name Mabel Lee Fields, in recognition of Mabel Lee’s contributions to the field of physical education.
Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall, a 126,590-square-foot, four-story facility, will feature classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, labs, a 400-seat auditorium and a link directly to Teachers College Hall. The facility will become the new home for the CEHS dean’s office; the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies; the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education; and the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools. It is expected to open this fall.
“This building is a direct reflection of Nebraska’s investment in teacher preparation, and we’re extremely appreciative of the state’s support,” Jones said. “In Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall, the next generation of teachers and other professionals will discover their passions and generate new ideas to enhance the lives of individuals, families, schools and communities and strengthen the relationships among them.”