All-College: Summer enrollment climbs, fall forecast shows continued optimism

Laurie Elish-Piper
Laurie Elish-Piper

Good news is easy to find in the College of Education – and that includes enrollment.

The college’s summer headcount for 2019 rose by 7.39 percent, or 89 students, over the year before – and the fall enrollment forecast expects to continue that positive trend.

Dean Laurie Elish-Piper revealed the numbers Aug. 20 during the All-College meeting, attributing some of the overall progress to “new programs, new delivery models, new cohorts and new certificates.”

“We’re trying to make sure we are at the cutting edge of what our students need and want, and what is required of the various professions for which we prepare people,” she said. “It’s exciting just to see all of that fabulous work.”

Elish-Piper also highlighted the college’s Strategic Action Planning Framework, which was adopted in January of 2017.

She and other members of the college leadership team are “to the point where we’re ready to relook and see if needs to be updated or tweaked. Departments are going to be doing a dive into looking at their departmental plans.”

Recent curricular updates that support the framework’s priorities of Innovative Practice and Intentional Growth cross all six of those departments.

  • Certificate of Graduate Study in User Experience and Learning Analytics
  • Minor in Counseling
  • College Teaching Specialization: Higher Education Ed.D.
  • Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Emphasis: Special Education B.S.Ed.
  • Higher Education Administration Specialization: Higher Education Ed.D.
  • 3+2 Accelerated Degree: Kinesiology B.S. to Athletic Training M.S.A.T.
  • Behavior Analysis Specialization: Special Education M.S.Ed.
  • 2+2 Elementary Education Program at ECC
  • Rockford Urban Principal Program
  • Special Populations Emphasis: Special Education B.S.Ed.
  • Assistive Technology Used by Persons with Visual Impairments Specialization: Special Education M.S.Ed.

Continued growth in the flourishing Educate and Engage Program, which in the last year included international trips to Belize, Finland, Mexico and Taiwan, also is helping to advance the Innovative Practice priority.

In other announcements, faculty members James Cohen, Joseph Flynn, Pi-Sui Hsu, Laura Hedin and Jesse (Woody) Johnson were named as the new cohort of EdLEAD, the college’s Leadership Education and Development Program.

Kay Caster
Kay Caster

The event also welcomed or congratulated several members of the College of Ed family.

New faces on the college level include Kay Caster, the assistant director of the Office of External and Global Programs; Todd Gilson, the acting associate dean for Research, Resources and Innovation; Alberta Solfisburg, director of Advancement; and Brittany Wereminski, recruitment coordinator in COE Student Services.

Joining the faculty are assistant professors David Nieto and Mariana Ricklefs and clinical assistant professor Kimberlyn Suedbeck (CI); assistant professors Nicholas Grahovec, Christopher Hill and Tyler Wood and visiting assistant professor Glynn McGehee (KNPE); and assistant professor Tiffany Puckett (LEPF).

Staff hires are Shirley Portegys and Christy Schweitzer (CI); Joe Curran (KNPE); and Chloe Board (LEPF).

Professor of Counseling Teresa Fisher was honored following her recent retirement from the Department of Counseling and Higher Education, where she taught for 18 years.

Dean Elish-Piper concluded the meeting with her wishes for a great fall semester for everyone – and an invitation to the Learning Center for the annual Ice Cream Social and visit with Mission.

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