Greetings, and a belated happy new year! Despite the cold and the snow, the Spring 2015 semester has officially begun, and we are in full swing with our optimistically named "Spring" classes.
For your edification and reading pleasure, I would like to recommend a brand new book by COE faculty members Tammy Oberg De La Garza and Alyson Lavigne. The book is called Salsa Dancing in Gym Shoes: Exploring Cross-Cultural Missteps with Latinos in the Classroom, and it takes a close look at the cultural missteps increasingly preventing Latinos from succeeding in education. Never ones to be solely critical, Oberg De La Garza and Lavigne describe useful and practical steps that teachers can take to reverse this harmful pattern.
I also am pleased to announce that two of our education faculty--Byoung Kim and Alyson Lavigne--have been awarded research leaves for the 2015-2016 academic year. Professor Kim will use his leave to examine the impact of STEM instruction on CPS students' learning of science and mathematics. Professor Lavigne will use her leave to conduct initial and secondary analyses of data from three studies of Illinois school leaders and specifically their perceptions of new teacher evaluation frameworks. Both professors plan to share what they learn from their studies with audiences inside and outside of the university.
Last but not least, the College of Education also is making plans for next year, and even has taken some initial steps toward achieving its aspirations.
Just a few weeks ago, Laura Lag and Brittany Carlsen, our assistant dean and administrative assistant on the Schaumburg Campus, moved their offices to the Gage Building. Shortly after the conclusion to the Spring semester, our Schaumburg-based faculty will make the same move. The goal is to centralize all of our faculty and administrators at the Chicago Campus in an effort to improve communication and collaboration, support for students, and the quality of our various academic programs.
Although President Middleton's decision in August 2014 to make the Schaumburg Campus a "branch campus" focused primarily on pharmacy and the health sciences is the catalyst for our moves, our decision-making actually reflects changes in our enrollment and the professions of teaching, counseling, and leadership that have been evolving over the last several years.
Today, our overall college enrollment is twice as large in Chicago and online than it is in Schaumburg. At the undergraduate level, we have approximately three times as many students in Chicago as in Schaumburg. New state mandates and accreditation standards mean that more than ever before we need to be extremely focused and intensive in the delivery of all of our courses and academic programs.
The above changes, I believe, will enable us to achieve the necessary focus and intensity. But the activities that will actually ensure our success in the future remain ahead of us. I look forward to reporting, in future messages, the new pursuits that we are undertaking to redesign our programs for a new era of teacher, counselor, and leader preparation.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this message. If you ever have comments or feedback that you would like to share, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.