Category: LEED

Meet COE Northern Lights Ambassador Jamal Murphy

Jamal is an Elementary Education major originally from Chicago. Experiencing, and ultimately overcoming challenges he had in his local high school inspired Jamal to pursue teaching and eventually to be a leader in his field. He states his goal is to return to Chicago Public School and help younger generations believe and achieve their dreams.

JamalWhile at Northern, Jamal is focusing on his graduation. As the first male in his family to attend college, he feels that he has an opportunity to set an example for future generations that going to college is a privilege and something to be proud of.

Jamal brings his outstanding communication and listening skills, and his positive attitude to the Northern Light Ambassador program. He feels that having strong communication and listening skills, and a positive attitude is extremely important in teaching and in everyday life. He feels that having these attributes opens up opportunities for him every day.



College of Education AWARDS

award-ribbon-printable-award-ribbon-clipartfree-award-ribbon-clip-art-htun1iwsDo you know someone in the College of Education who is deserving of special recognition for their efforts over the past year? The College of Education Awards have been reinstated this year, and the information for the awards as well as the nomination packets are now available online.

There are eight award categories with specific criteria for each award. To make a nomination, the nominator should fill out the form as well as be prepared to download their own nominator’s letter as well as two to three supportive letters. The maximum number of support letters is three per nomination.

The award categories are:

  • Excellence in Teaching Award for Faculty/Clinical Faculty 2016
  • Excellence in Research & Artistry Award for Faculty 2016
  • Excellence in Service Award for Faculty 2016
  • Exceptional Contributions by Instructors 2016
  • Exceptional Contributions by Civil Service Staff 2016
  • Exceptional Contributions by Supportive Professional Staff 2016
  • Excellence in Outreach/Community Service Award 2016
  • Exceptional Contributions in Diversity/Social Justice Award 2016

Deadline for all nominations is March 18, 2016, at 4 p.m. Questions or comments, contact Pat Wielert at pwielert@niu.edu.



Holiday Book Drive!

HolidayBookListGive the gift of literacy to a child in need this holiday season.  Students, faculty and staff in the College of Education are teaming up for a holiday book drive to benefit Neighbor’s House reading and tutoring program, a non-profit organization that serves DeKalb County. Children’s books (preferably for grades K-8) that are new or like new condition are needed.  Please drop off your donations to Graham Hall 225 any time through Wednesday, Dec. 2.  This effort is being sponsored by NIU’s KDP International Honor Society in Education.  Please direct any questions to Beth Wilkins (ewilkins@niu.edu) or Christina Poe (z1765903@students.niu.edu).  Collectively, our college can make literacy come alive for children!  We hope you’ll be part of that effort!



Literacy & Elementary Education offers new reading cohort in Grayslake

Northern Illinois University’s Department of Literacy and Elementary Education (LEED) will offer a new cohort leading to a Master of Science degree in literacy education with a focus on reading beginning in 2016 at University Center-Lake County (UC-LC) in Grayslake.

The program includes one or two classes per semester and is ideal for classroom teachers who are interested in earning either the Reading Teacher Endorsement (24 credits) or Reading Specialist Endorsement K-12 (33 credits).

Interested individuals can learn more about this program by attending an information session on Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the University Center-Lake County, 1200 University Center Drive, Grayslake, Ill. This event precedes an UC-LC open house and provides an opportunity for prospective students to learn about program requirements and ask questions. For information and reservations, contact Gail Schumacher, academic advisor, at gschumacher@niu.edu or 815-753-7948.

As a competency-based program, this master’s degree features a course sequence in which each course builds on the previous one, and all courses are aligned with the standards for reading professionals developed by the International Literacy Association. All courses are taught by skilled and knowledgeable faculty members, many with national recognition for their teaching, research and service to the field of reading. Full-time reading faculty members include Susan L’Allier, associate professor and reading program coordinator; Corrine Wickens, associate professor; and Michael Manderino, assistant professor. For information on the faculty, visit the Department of Literacy and Elementary Education website.

Northern Illinois University also plans to offers the Master of Science degree in literacy education with a focus on reading at the NIU-Naperville campus in 2016.

NIU also offers a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, a Master of Science in literacy education with a focus on ESL/bilingual education, a Master of Arts degree in teaching (initial elementary education license), and a Doctor of Education degree in curriculum and instruction with specialization in literacy education. In addition, classes are available for those interested in coursework toward ESL and bilingual endorsements, the Reading Teacher Endorsement and the Certificate of Graduate Studies in Postsecondary Developmental Literacy and Language Instruction. For more information visit the LEED website.



Alumni profile: Meet Mina Blazy

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Mina Blazy

If you had asked Mina Blazy if she aspired to be a teacher back while she was a student at Proviso East High School, she would have told you “no.”

But the fond memories of a 10th grade chemistry teacher at that high school continue to inspire her hands-on approach to teaching – teaching science especially — today.
“You’d go by his class and he’d be lighting something on fire,” she said. “We made candy from a chemical equation in his class. I had the most fun in that classroom. He made science come alive.”

When that teacher retired and learned that Blazy (B.S. Ed. Elementary Education ’99) was teaching, he sent her all of his lessons.

Earlier this year Blazy opened the Gus Franklin Jr. STEM Academy, in Victorville, Calif., where she is currently principal.

“The academy is a huge success,” she said of its launch. “We have students from kindergarten through sixth grade learning and exploring engineering concepts through project-based learning.”

Blazy’s passion for teaching and learning through science is infused into every aspect of the school. Her students are learning about flight in space in third grade, and how to use software in fifth and sixth grades, plus the elementary school has engineering and science labs. This year, the school will launch a new project where students will manipulate a radio telescope as part of the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT) Program. The project is a partnership between the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Lewis Center for Educational Research. In addition, they will look at space for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. The data they study will be part of the Juno Project, which is named for a satellite that was launched towards Jupiter and will go live next summer.

“It’s another hands-on science project, where they will get to manipulate it from the school site,” she said.

Blazy’s path to becoming a classroom innovator didn’t happen overnight. After growing up in Broadview, Ill., she attended the University of Dubuque and learned to be a pilot.

“I flew planes for a while, got married, had kids, and just decided to go into education,” she said. “My husband was actually the one who pointed out to me that I had a natural ability to teach.”

Blazy’s mother – a registered nurse – and uncle had attended NIU, so she applied. A counselor told her that she should focus on teaching science or math, so she minored in biology.

After graduation, she taught high school science in the Chicago suburbs for a few years, before moving to Ohio and then California to continue her career. Soon, Blazy will begin pursuing her doctoral degree in STEM education.

“Science helps you think about your thinking,” she said. “That’s why I decided I wanted to focus on STEM.”

Throughout her career, Blazy said she has worked with and observed educators at all skill levels.

“What I have learned is that NIU gave me a true foundation in the education arena, and the necessary skills to help guide teachers to become extremely successful,” she said.



Supporter of literacy program receives two prestigious awards

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As the author or co-author of approximately 300 articles, research studies and professional books, Jerry L. Johns, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus in the College of Education’s Department of Literacy and Elementary Education (LEED), is known in the field of reading education for more than his significant scholarship. Johns has not only been recognized as an outstanding teacher educator, scholar, professional development speaker and leader, he was recently inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame and awarded the William S. Gray Citation of Merit by the International Literacy Association.

“In the field of reading education, the William S. Gray Citation of Merit is by far the most prestigious award given. For Jerry to receive this award on the same day as he was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame demonstrates the scope and magnitude of his contributions to the field as well as the high regard in which he is held,” said Laurie Elish-Piper, acting dean of NIU’s College of Education. “With these two honors, Jerry has truly been elevated to the status of living legend in reading.”

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Jerry Johns (and one of his favorite books) at the opening of the Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic at NIU.

Johns has had a long, highly respected career at Northern Illinois University (NIU) and has maintained close ties to the university’s literacy clinic, which carries his name. He also has a local, national and international reputation for serving in numerous leadership positions, and has been the recipient of several professional and civic awards. For example, he has served as president of the International Literacy Association, the Illinois Reading Council, the Northern Illinois Reading Council, and the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers (formerly the College Reading Association). When he was not a president for one of these organizations he was busy serving on the board of directors for each of these organizations.

Johns, who taught undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, said he enjoyed working with students on publications and seeing students graduate and succeed as leaders in the field.

In addition to the positive effect Johns had on helping NIU students achieve success in their careers, he made time to contribute his colleagues’ careers as well. Elish-Piper spoke about the impact Johns’ mentorship had on her career since she started working at NIU in 1995.

“Jerry was already an internationally known and respected scholar, yet he made time to meet with me and to collaborate on projects with me,” Elish-Piper said. “In fact, he continues to serve as a mentor and advisor, and most importantly a friend, and I can honestly say that my development as a scholar, teacher and leader is due in great part to the mentoring that Jerry has provided.”

Currently Johns serves on editorial advisory boards for Reading Psychology and the Illinois Reading Council Journal. In his free time, Johns enjoys traveling, walking, reading, and driving his sports car.



Go Teacher project graduates 37 Ecuadorian “Huskies”

Go TeacherThirty-seven Ecuadorian teachers gathered at the Red Roof Inn Aug. 13 for the *Go Teacher project’s graduation ceremony. Go Teacher is a seven-month international education program where Ecuadorian teachers studied ESL methodology, second language acquisition, and culture on NIU’s campus.

James Cohen, assistant professor of ESL and bilingual education in the department Literacy and Elementary Education, secured a $777,000 grant from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education and Kansas State University that made the Go Teacher program possible.

NIU speakers at the ceremony included Lisa Freeman, executive vice president and provost; Laurie Elish-Piper, acting dean of the College of Education; Anne Gregory, chair of the Department of Literacy and Elementary Education; James Cohen, and two Go Teacher graduates—Eugenia Pico and Segundo Rea. Graduates enthusiastically lined up to receive certificates of completion, which were handed out by Cohen and Gregory. The ceremony was followed by a buffet lunch and dancing.

During their seveGO Teachern-month stay at NIU, each of the 37 participants logged 615 in-class and clinical hours. In Ecuador, English is required to study abroad, and to gain entry into a master’s degree or Ph.D. program.

“What has happened here is powerful,” said Cohen. “They’re going to be seen as leaders in their small communities. It’s now in their hands to make differences for their students and their families.”

* To see WNIJ radio’s coverage of the event, visit the website.



LEED remains a leader in faculty production

Stack of papersA new study published by researchers in the Department of Teacher Education at Brigham Young University ranks NIU’s literacy faculty within the top-10 most productive literacy faculties in the country for the years 2006 through 2012.

The article, which appears in the journal Reading Psychology, also lists NIU’s literacy faculty as one of only four of the 25 university faculties studied to have ranked in the top-10 in four similar studies dating back to 1972.

Such rankings are important to prospective students, who can use such data in selecting schools to attend, and to those “attempting to navigate the unclear waters of promotion, retention, and tenure.”

According to its authors, the current study is intended to build upon the previous studies and “compare the scholarly productivity of faculty members in universities as represented in nine* literacy journals.” Each of the refereed journals is national or international in scope and uses a blind, peer-reviewed acceptance process; all nine are considered among the best in the literacy field as determined by scholarly rigor, impact and prestige.

“Measures of productivity are indications that faculty members are active leaders in shaping and developing their respective fields,” said Anne Gregory, chair of the LEED department. “To have been ranked within the top 10 faculties in terms of productivity in the nation, speaks to the dedication and leadership the literacy faculty members bring to their work at NIU and within the community.” Anne noted that as leaders in their fields, literacy faculty members provide and promote more educational opportunities for the students in their classrooms and engage students in practices and methods that are on the leading edge of innovation. “They serve as role models and mentors to those who endeavor to become part of the profession,” she said. “It is truly an honor and privilege to work with this dedicated, hardworking group of professionals.”

 

* Journals examined: Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Journal of Literacy Research, Literacy Research and Instruction, Reading Horizons, Reading Improvement, Reading Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, Scientific Studies of Reading, The Reading Teacher