An NIU College of Education department is beginning the new semester with a new name.
Meet the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Formerly known as Literacy and Elementary Education, the department changed its moniker to better reflect the diverse teaching, learning and faculty that make it up.
“With the Program Prioritization process, we had two new faculty members join us from the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations. It seemed really important then to think about who we are and the programming that we offer,” Chair Anne Gregory said.
“What we found is that there were very few people who thought that our name actually represented us and our expertise. We’ve also had questions from potential students saying, ‘I can’t find you,’ ” Gregory added. “With that said, we considered other alternatives.” Read more...
Elementary Education majors at NIU will enter the teaching field a step ahead of their peers.
Three new emphases – Bilingual/ESL, Reading Teacher and Special Education – will provide automatic endorsements in areas that previously required additional coursework.
For example, the Reading Teacher endorsement, designed for teachers who teach reading in a setting other than a self-contained classroom, currently entails 24 semester hours of credit in stand-alone courses.
Now, says Anne Gregory, chair of the Department of Literacy and Elementary Education, faculty will “purposefully incorporate” those lessons into existing courses.
With the innovation, students can complete their degrees and endorsements within four years, saving time and money while becoming more marketable: They’ll graduate with a “broad view” of what teachers can provide to young learners.
“It will make them look very different than anyone else in the state,” Gregory says. “There aren’t any other programs in Illinois that look like this. There are five-year programs elsewhere, but none that include this many options for candidates. And, no one else has done a four-year program. We will be a leader.”
Students also can pursue multiple endorsements, although that would extend their time in school. Read more...
Laura Tuma felt uneasy when she first heard about the edTPA, the new assessment she would need to pass before receiving teacher licensure in Illinois.
“It was very intimidating at first. It was very scary not knowing what to expect,” says the recent graduate of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. “It was new to our professors, too, so that almost made us more intimidated. If they didn’t know a whole lot about it, how were we going to be prepared?”
She needn’t have worried.
With nurturing guidance from her professors, Tuma passed her edTPA – as did 100 percent of undergraduates in the NIU College of Education who submitted their materials in the spring of 2016.
The College of Education’s most recent numbers are well ahead of the state and national results. The college’s teacher-candidates scored higher than the national average in all but one rubric, where they tied, and higher than or equal to the state average in all rubrics.
“My professors took the bull by the horns and were able to break it down, step by step,” Tuma says. “They integrated chunks of the edTPA into all of our classes.” Read more...
Thirty-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 seven-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. Read more...
A 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. Read more...