Hello from the College of Education!

It is an honor to begin my first year as the dean in the College of Education at Illinois State! Based on my educational trajectory, I feel the institution’s four strategic directions are noble goals that I believe in and are aligned with me philosophically. I strongly identify with the enduring values of the institution. Having had extensive experiences in all three departments as well as laboratory schools, I believe I am solidly grounded to lead the college in its next chapter of sustained growth, excellence, integrity, social justice, social responsibility, and student-centered education characterized by civil discourse from a collaborative shared governance perspective.

Over the past year, the pandemic has continued to affect every aspect of education. My new colleagues have already told me many stories about how our Redbird educators not only adapted and persevered but are also leading the way to a better educational landscape.

Here at the College of Education, we are proud of the great work of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. In this year’s Statewide Standard we are excited to highlight how our Redbirds are continuing to be leaders in education.

Barbara Efaw ’59 and her family generously gifted the College of Education $500,000 to establish the Barbara and Larry Efaw Center for Educator Excellence. The Efaw Center will open this fall and will provide academic and social-emotional support to all teacher education and educational leadership students.

Teach Chicago Tomorrow, our partnership with Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges to create a teacher pipeline, launched over the past year. The program is growing significantly as students are working towards earning their Illinois State bachelor’s degree and licensure in either special education learning and behavior specialist, elementary education with an ESL endorsement, or bilingual-bicultural elementary education. All classes are online or in Chicago.

The college is coordinating the $25 million Illinois Tutoring Initiative in partnership with the governor’s office and other state agencies. This program is providing high-impact tutoring for students across the state to help with learning disruptions from the pandemic, with the goal of serving 8,500 students in two years.

I’m excited to welcome several new leaders to the college. Dr. Anthony Jones joins us as the director of the laboratory schools. Dr. Yojanna Cuenca-Carlino is the new chair of the Department of Special Education. Dr. Becky Beucher was named the director of the new Barbara and Larry Efaw Center for Educator Excellence.

 I hope you enjoy reading about many more of the wonderful projects and initiatives from some of our Redbird educators as we all work together to continuously improve education. As I settle into my new role, I look forward to meeting many of you over this next year. I would love to see you at our annual Homecoming celebration on October 15. I would also love to hear your story and learn about the great work you are doing in the field. Please feel free to reach us via email at Education@IllinoisState.edu.

With Redbird pride,

Dr. Francis E. Godwyll