Message from Dean M Cecil Smith

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Dean M Cecil SmithI am very happy to welcome you to the School of Education! If you are a new student in the School, thank you for making the choice to come to SIU Carbondale and prepare for a career in education. If you are a returning student, we are thrilled to have you back and continuing the important work of completing your degree. If you are an alumnus, thanks for visiting our website to catch up on the many exciting developments within the School of Education. And, indeed, we have several new initiatives that are of great benefit to our students, which strengthen our partnerships with area school districts, and also contribute to faculty research efforts. Many of these projects offer opportunities for students to be involved with research, teaching, and professional service activities.

The Illinois Tutoring Initiative, funded through the Governor’s Office and in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Board of Higher Education, is now underway at Southern Illinois University. Led by Illinois State University, SIU is one of six public higher education institutions in the state that is providing tutors to students in grades 3-8 in “high needs” school districts. The purpose is to address the learning losses that many students suffered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trained tutors—many of whom are our undergraduate teacher candidates—earn $50 an hour for tutoring students after school in reading and math skills. For more information, view our ITI tutor information.

Yet another exciting initiative is the launching this summer of the Saluki Teacher Residency Partnership (STRP). A teacher residency bears similarity to a medical internship in that teacher candidates spend a full year as a paid resident teacher in a school, supported by both a faculty mentor and a “community mentor” alongside intensive professional development activities. STRP involves partnerships with five Illinois community school districts in Cairo, Carbondale, Cobden, Meridian, and Murphysboro. Undergraduate teacher candidates who would like to apply for a full-year residency should contact Dr. Christie McIntyre, Director of Teacher Education.

Our undergraduate program offerings continue to grow, with a new online early childhood education program. Soon, elementary education and special education will offer online programs alongside seated programs on campus and at Rend Lake Marketplace in Mount Vernon, IL and University Center Lake County in Grayslake, IL. For students interested in early childhood education, the Early Childhood Education Access Consortium for Equity enables easy transfer from community colleges to the Early Childhood Education program at SIU, alongside scholarships that completely cover tuition, fees, textbooks, and other expenses.

I am happy to report that our undergraduate enrollment is holding steady despite the overall decline in college enrollments nationwide. I attribute this good news to our outstanding faculty, an excellent educator preparation program, and the tireless work of our faculty, advisors, and staff to welcome prospective students to our campus.