NAME Summer Institute to debut at NIU

Alfred W. Tatum
Alfred W. Tatum

The NAME Summer Institute is coming to Northern Illinois University.

Leaders of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) have selected NIU as the site for the event scheduled from Thursday, June 28, to Saturday, June 30.

Since its inception in 1990, NAME has held conferences in notable metropolises across the United States.

For this inaugural summer collaborative, NAME strives to deliver a high-impact, residual message with the theme of the event titled “Addressing the Demographic Imperative: Recruiting and Preparing a Diverse and Highly Effective Teaching Force.”

The institute will attract educators from around the country and is designed to help them develop plans for diversifying the teaching force in their regions.

Registration is available online.

“NAME engages in both advocacy work as well as professional development. I see this Summer Institute as doing some of both,” said Christine Sleeter, NAME president and professor emerita at California State University-Monterey Bay.

“The idea came from working with NAME. I met with representatives from various educational organizations that focus on teachers and equity issues,” Sleeter added. “One of the ideas that we talked about was sponsoring a Summer Institute to partner those engaged in teacher diversity-related issues with educators who could benefit from their findings.”

Alfred W. Tatum, NIU alumnus and associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the event’s keynote speaker.

Tatum, a former NIU professor, is also the director of the UIC Reading Clinic. He has penned more than 25 publications covering topics including adolescent literacy, teacher professional development in urban middle schools and high schools, and the literacy development of African-American adolescent males, particularly the impact of texts on their lives.

“The focus of his research is on African-American boys, as well as elementary education,” said Terry Borg, director of External and Global Programs in the NIU College of Education. “The message that he is likely to bring to us is going to be really focused on literacy and making schools more effective.”

NAME logoThe institute will also feature a myriad of workshops, hosted by educators from all over the country and structured to provide participants with the tools necessary for the integration of new approaches in their curriculum.

“It’s going to be a living action plan,” said Borg, “where one can walk away from it and implement within those first few months.”

Borg said the institute will provide the recommended resources for educational leaders as well as distinct, tangible steps. “It’s going to be both. I think people are going to be empowered; I think they’re going to have some learning enhancement with respect to multicultural advancement and diversity. It becomes more than some cliché terms but really how to make a difference based upon the real needs of our learners today.”

NAME has played an instrumental role in building and developing a presence in educational growth over the past 22 years and continues to invigorate and influence programs of varying capacities.

“The NAME organization has an international reputation,” Borg said. “For NIU and the College of Education to partner with NAME indicates NIU’s commitment to social justice.”

Connie Fox and Terry Borg
Connie Fox and Terry Borg

A major facet of the organizations’ initiatives centers around creating diversity in the educators that are recruited, retained, and graduated through the educational programs at universities.

“We’re very interested in diversifying our undergraduates and graduates, so that they can closely mirror the populations of the schools they will be serving,” said Connie Fox, associate dean of Academic Affairs in the NIU College of Education.

“The Summer Institute will focus on how we recruit and retain students,” Fox added. “The responsibility lies on us but also on our partners in the public schools. We encourage them to send their graduates to us, so we can help prepare them and send them back into their schools as teachers and colleagues.”

The NAME Summer Institute will be held in the Holmes Student Center. Tickets can be purchased for the event at www.nameorg.org.

For more information, call (815) 753-6907.

by Eric Johnson

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