As you enter the new academic year, I want you to be aware that College of Education faculty, administrators, and staff are working very hard to ensure that you graduate with a degree, license, and/or endorsement that positions you for success in your career as a teacher, counselor, or leader. Evidence in support of this claim can be found in many places, but these four recent developments really make the case:
- In late July, the School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling Programs were granted accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and its stamp of approval is a key indicator of program excellence and quality.
- In early August, the Reading, Early Childhood, and Secondary Science, English, Math, and History programs earned national recognition from their respective professional organizations. National recognition is earned when programs meet rigorous national standards, and it is the first step toward continuing national accreditation for the College of Education.
- In mid-August, the Language and Literacy Program officially hired Erin Mackinney as an Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education. Erin just earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, is fluent in Spanish, and will teach online and face-to-face courses on bilingual and multicultural education for students enrolled in our initial and advanced teacher preparation programs.
- Over the summer, the College of Education oriented all of its student teachers, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors to a new edTPA assessment that will be completed this year. This new assessment will become mandatory for teacher licensure starting in Fall 2015. Our pilot implementation this year will help us to prepare students for success in the future.
I also want you to know that we are absolutely committed to providing you with the best possible climate for learning and study. Toward this end, we have opened the “round room” in the main office in Schaumburg to all students for use during the normal business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The round room has several Windows computers that you can use to check email and complete course assignments. In addition, the college is installing two new computers--one Mac and one Windows--in the Student Resource Center on the 8th floor of the Gage Building. The Student Resource Center has comfortable chairs, tables for writing, and a small curriculum library; it, too, is now open to all students during normal business hours. Last but not least, the college is preparing for the transition to Tk20 in Fall 2015. This new assessment management software will replace TaskStream, and students will be able to use it for free in the future to submit assignments and other artifacts required by their programs.
The above developments are important, and represent the core values and priorities of the college; however, to achieve our goal of helping you to make an impact within your chosen profession, we need to do more. Here are just a few of the ideas for additional college-wide improvement that faculty, administrators, staff, and a small group of talented alumni and community partners discussed last week at our annual fall retreat:
- Expand special education training and knowledge of new approaches for creating positive environments for diverse learners.
- Enhance the capacity of students to understand and work effectively within complex institutions and socio-economic structures.
- Instill critical agency and an openness to feedback and self-improvement.
- Provide more opportunities for students and faculty to engage with communities and practices that are innovative, forward-looking, and embedded in a rich social justice commitment.
My best wishes for a very successful new semester and school year. Enjoy!