The 2016 College of Education Annual Report is now available. In addition to the update from the dean, the publication provides the latest on the college’s national rankings, enrollment, research and grants, program initiatives, and the Laboratory Schools.
Update from the dean
Illinois State University is the largest preparer of teachers in Illinois and among the top 10 largest producers of special education teachers in the nation at the bachelor’s level. During 2015–2016, more than 4,400 undergraduate and graduate-level students were enrolled in the University’s educator preparation program.
Each year, College of Education students participate in clinical experiences across the state, nation, and the world, including more than 35,000 hours at our own Laboratory Schools. In 2015–2016, the College of Education’s study abroad program added a trip to Heredia, Costa Rica, and new partnerships with communities in Italy, Panama, and Russia are planned for 2016-2017.
The University’s more than 45,000 education alumni live and work in all 50 U.S. states and in 62 countries around the world. In Illinois, one in four first-year teachers and more than one in seven of all teachers are Redbirds. That includes the 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year, middle level math teacher Kim Thomas!
For the second straight year, the value of the College of Education’s externally funded grants and awards represented almost 50 percent of the University’s total. This work is designed to advance the profession and serve students who need effective educators the most.
Two five-year $1.39 million grants are addressing Illinois’ shortage of bilingual educators in high-needs Illinois schools. Based in northern Illinois, the grants deliver coursework to 75 bilingual paraprofessionals so they may earn a bachelor’s degree and licensure in elementary/bilingual education with ESL certification. Following graduation, they will teach in high-needs schools in Illinois for at least three years.
A $1.23 million grant will help reverse a trend in Illinois. Fewer than one in five infants and toddlers with visual impairments, blindness, or deafblindness receive early intervention services. The five-year grant is expected to double the number of practitioners in the state who are capable of providing these services.
American Council on Education Fellowship
As dean of the College of Education, I have emphasized to faculty, staff, students, and alumni the importance of practicing continuous improvement through professional development. During the 2016–2017 academic year, I am honored to have been selected to participate in a professional development opportunity of my own as an American Council on Education (ACE) fellow. I am among 33 senior-level faculty and administrators in higher education nationwide to participate, and I have partnered with leadership at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The ACE program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits, and observations to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year of intensive study.
While I pursue this opportunity, the University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Janet Krejci has named Al Azinger as acting dean. Azinger, who assumed this role in August, is an emeritus professor from Illinois State’s Department of Educational Administration and Foundations who has served in leadership roles within the College of Education and as Illinois State’s ombudsperson and interim associate vice president for human relations. Prior to his tenure at Illinois State, he served as a superintendent of schools in Lawrence, Kansas, and Iowa City.
We take great pride in these accomplishments, and we would like to thank Al Azinger for his leadership of the college during 2016–2017.