Students in the NIU College of Education’s Open Doors project help second-graders at Lincoln Elementary School in Bellwood to identify their visions and map the roads to realizing them.
Nakeya wants to be a ballet dancer. Jamari wants to be a train conductor. Isabel wants to design fashions for famous people. Deandre wants to be an astronaut. Phillip wants to be an animator. Kenyatti wants to produce video games.
“I am extremely proud of my students during our visits to Bellwood. I think they represent NIU’s College of Education very well. They give 110 percent to the students they support while visiting Lincoln,” says Natalie Young, an instructor in the Early Childhood Studies program of the Department of Special and Early Education.
“My goal is for my students to not only teach the children, but to learn from the students as well,” Young adds, “which is what all good teachers do.”
Read all about it – and watch the video – courtesy of the NIU Newsroom.
Three NIU College of Education graduates stepped in the spotlight last weekend during the fall commencement ceremonies.
President Doug Baker told the audience at Sunday’s 2 p.m. ceremony about Luis Hernandez, a graduate from Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education.
During Saturday’s Graduate School ceremony, the president spoke about Kaneez Fatima and Sadia Qamar, who earned master’s degrees in Early Childhood Studies.
Here are President Baker’s comments.
Luis Hernandez sees the world differently than most – and in more ways than one.
Talk to him and you’ll hear about the infinite complexities of everything around us. Of questions for which there are currently no answers. Of the lack of enough lifetimes to understand, or even solve, just a fraction of the puzzles of the universe.
Or the endless possibilities to unlock some of these solutions through simply improving mathematical literacy.
“It’s mindboggling,” Luis says, “how complicated reality is.”
He graduates today with a degree in kinesiology, a fascinating field that drew him in through its beautiful combination of sciences and disciplines.
To many, it’s all about exercise. To Luis, though, it’s math. It’s physics. It’s biology, chemistry and even philosophy. Read more...
Stacy Kelly visits Scotland’s
Royal National Institute for the Blind.
For Stacy Kelly, a trip to Scotland to share best practices on the training of pre-service professionals in the field of visual impairments proved an eye-opening experience.
During her well-received conference presentations at Scotland’s Royal National Institute for the Blind and her opportunities to observe her United Kingdom colleagues at work, Kelly glimpsed something she can’t see back home.
“In the United States, we have a totally different system to protect our privacy – it’s very much individual, little blocks of information, but you can’t break into the blocks. We have HIPPA, FERPA and all these layers of privacy protection,” says Kelly, an associate professor in the Department of Special and Early Education.
“So much research in our profession is single-subject research design because of the infrastructure of privacy protection,” she adds. “National data sets are hard to come by, and that’s a real struggle for us in the United States.”
Researchers aren’t alone in the dearth of information: Even parents of people with visual impairments lose access to the health records of their children when those children reach adulthood. Read more...
NIU will confer an honorary doctorate degree this fall to James Fruchterman, who has devoted his career to bringing “Silicon Valley’s technology innovations to all of humanity, not just the richest 5 percent.”
The CEO and founder of Benetech will receive his distinction during the Graduate School commencement, scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in the NIU Convocation Center.
A former rocket engineer who also founded two successful for-profit, high-tech companies, Fruchterman grew up in Arlington Heights, Ill.
He is also a MacArthur Fellow, recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and winner of the 2013 Migel Medal from the American Foundation for the Blind, the highest honor in the United States for service to the field of blindness.
“We are privileged to recognize Jim Fruchterman,” NIU President Doug Baker says. “He applies his skills in engineering and physics to discover, develop and deliver technology that helps people around the world to lead better and more-productive lives, and he has accomplished this in a selfless way.” Read more...
Toni Van Laarhoven
Toni Van Laarhoven became a teacher before she became a student.
Van Laarhoven and her twin sister, Traci, often accompanied their mother and their sister, Steffanie, to the parent-run school their sibling attended. Toni and Traci – only preschoolers then – often were asked to teach their sister’s classmates and to lead small-group activities.
Years later, Van Laarhoven would realize the roles were switched.
“My older sister, who has severe intellectual disabilities, is nonverbal and engages in some challenging behavior, is one of the coolest people you could ever meet – and is also one of my most influential teachers,” says NIU’s Presidential Teaching Professor for 2016.
“She has taught me that teaching-and-learning is a reciprocal process,” she adds, “and that it is critical to listen and learn from all people, regardless of their mode of communication.”
Her mother also inspired her work but in a different way.
Elaine Leslie Baker joined other parents in lobbying for educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities; their efforts resulted in the 1975 legislation known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act that guarantees a free, appropriate education for that population. Read more...