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College of Education realigns programs

August 10, 2011

NIU students chat near Altgeld HallReturning students will be met with a number of changes on campus this fall, including the change of the name of the College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning (TLRN) to the Department of Special and Early Education (SEED).

Along with the name change, the College of Education has realigned programs within three departments: Teaching and Learning (now called Special and Early Education); Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations; and Literacy Education.

The following degree objectives (see table) have been reassigned to achieve efficiencies and create synergy within programs and among faculty with shared teaching and research interests.

This refocusing accomplishes three purposes:

  • It connects graduate programs focused on Curriculum Leadership and faculty who specialize in that area to other school leadership programs located in the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations.
  • It connects the undergraduate and graduate Elementary Education programs, faculty and courses to the reading, literacy and elementary education support courses in the Department of Literacy Education.
  • It allows the Special Education and Early Childhood Education faculty to focus specifically on the needs of special and early learners.

College of Education realignment chartThe realignment fulfills a growing need to provide more cohesion and collaboration among similar programs as well as a better alignment of departments with state and national education goals and standards. The changes will allow faculty of all departments to focus on areas of expertise and to realize shared interests in research and teaching methods.

While course designators might change, no faculty courses, or degree programs have been eliminated. Current graduate and undergraduate students will continue in their programs, and future students will be admitted as usual.

TLRN becomes SEED

“The Department of Special and Early Education — SEED — can now focus on preparing the best teachers for learners who are young (from birth to grade 3) and/or have special needs (K-12 special education),” said Associate Dean Connie Fox, who is interim chair of SEED.

In addition, the creation of SEED supports NIU President John Peters’ Vision 2020 Initiative, a proposal designed to make NIU the most student-centered public research university in the Midwest.

As a result of the changes in the College of Education, faculty in LEPF, LTCY and SEED will have greater opportunities to create and implement innovative course and program delivery strategies. Using their shared teaching experiences, faculty will be better positioned to deliver cutting-edge instruction for the 21st century student.

“This change represents a substantive shift in course for our college,” Dean LaVonne I. Neal said. “To remain relevant to our students and to fulfill our mission, we are aligning the college in the most effective way possible to deliver a premier educational experience for all of our students.”