NIU educator-licensure programs rated highly in inaugural Illinois Preparation Profile report

NIU educator-licensure programs rated highly in inaugural Illinois Preparation Profile report

A first-time report released Dec. 7 by the Illinois State Board of Education gives high marks to Northern Illinois University’s educator-licensure programs.

The Illinois Preparation Profile (IPP), called a “continuous improvement and accountability system,” aims to strengthen the state’s more than 700 approved teacher-licensure programs statewide by improving how the ISBE collects, shares and reports data from 52 colleges and universities.

NIU offers 35 nationally recognized educator-licensure programs in four colleges – Education; Health and Human Sciences; Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Visual and Performing Arts – and each of the NIU programs that received a rating is categorized as either “Exemplary” or “Commendable.”

Earning the “Exemplary” designation are Foreign Language-Spanish, Library Information Specialist, Mathematics, Reading Specialist and Technology Specialist.

“The high scores received by NIU educator-licensure programs are a credit to our faculty and staff who provide quality experiences for our candidates,” said Jenny Parker, associate vice provost for Educator Licensure and Preparation. “We welcome and appreciate this additional validation from the state board, and we are committed to meeting and exceeding these standards in the coming years as this report develops.”

Developed with the support of the Partnership for Educator Preparation, a committee of diverse stakeholders that represents educators, principals, district administrators and higher education institutions as well as other experts throughout the state, the IPP is intended to provide a holistic view of a program’s ability to recruit and train effective educators aligned to state needs.

Information was organized across four scored domains: Candidate Selection and Completion; Knowledge and Skills for Teaching; Performance as Classroom Teachers; and Contribution to State Needs. A domain can have up to four indicators, each of which has a minimum standard and a state target on a 100-point scale.

Scores from each domain then were tabulated to determine the overall ratings, which also include “Developing” or “Needs Improvement.” None of NIU’s rated programs fell into those lower categories.

Beth Ingram, NIU’s executive vice president and provost, is proud of the high ratings received by the university’s educator licensure programs.

“NIU began as a Normal School to prepare educators, and in this, our 125th year, it is wonderful to see the sustained quality of our programs reflected in this report,” Ingram said. “We always commit ourselves to continuous improvement, and to remaining flexible, responsive and proactive to the needs of our students and the profession, which has kept us as a university on the cutting edge of educator preparation.”

This year’s inaugural Illinois Preparation Profile is for informational purposes only, but the 2021 IPP report and those that follow it will have formal regulatory consequences for the renewal and continued approval of teacher-preparation programs.

For that reason, Parker said, leaders of four Illinois education associations – the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Illinois Association of Deans of Public Colleges of Education, the Illinois Association of Teacher Education in Private College and Chicago Area Deans Association – will continue to meet with ISBE representatives.

“We are urging further refining of the metrics and domains contained within the report,” she said. “When the report is linked to program re-authorization, it is critical that the data included, and the metrics used to calculate scores, fairly and comprehensively represent all preparation programs statewide.”

NIU is one of the largest educator-preparation providers in the Land of Lincoln, enrolling more than 1600 students and recommending around 400 candidates for licensure each year.

The College of Visual and Performing Arts offers bachelors programs in Art and Design Education and Music Education, masters programs in Art and Design Education (including an online offering) and Music Education.

Equipped with intensive preparation in their content fields and effective pedagogy, more than 25,000 NIU graduates with Professional Educator Licenses are currently teaching or serving in other positions in Illinois elementary and secondary schools.

Thousands Strong kickoff video features CVPA talent

Thousands Strong kickoff video features CVPA talent

The NIU Foundation kicked off its annual Day of Giving with a Thousands Strong video event, Wednesday, November 18, and the video featured a number of students and alumni of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The video is hosted by Kate Drury, a B.F.A. candidate in acting. The music for the video was performed by the NIU Jazz Orchestra and the celebrity interview was Joe Minoso, a 2004 M.F.A. acting graduate and the star of the NBC series “Chicago Fire.”

The Day of Giving runs through November 19. Gifts of all sizes will go a long way to helping ensure the next classes of Huskies have what they need to make the most of their time on campus.

NIU’s “Thousands Strong” Virtual Events Celebrate Huskie Pride

NIU’s “Thousands Strong” Virtual Events Celebrate Huskie Pride

In celebration of our positive impact throughout the world, Northern Illinois Huskies and friends of the university are invited to participate in the NIU Foundation “Thousands Strong” virtual events, which will take place Nov. 18-20.

From 7-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, NIU will commemorate all that makes NIU extraordinary. The Opening Night kickoff show will include an inspirational and entertaining lineup on YouTube Live, with NIU President Lisa C. Freeman and special celebrity guest Joe Minoso, M.F.A. ’04, who plays firefighter Joe Cruz on the NBC drama “Chicago Fire.” Minoso’s unique NIU story and post-graduate experience in theater and television make him an ideal as star for this tribute to Huskies’ success.

This event, which borrows its name from a famous line of “Hail NIU,” the University’s alma mater, will honor the outstanding alumni and donors who help make NIU an engine for innovation, creativity and social mobility. It will also feature inspiring stories of scholarship recipients who are making their dreams come true.

If the kickoff show reaches 1,000 total views, it will unlock $100,000 towards student scholarships, thanks to a special giving challenge instituted by NIU Foundation board member John ’74, M.S. ’75, and Anne Landgraf, ’73.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and going through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19, the Huskie community will come together for an online Day of Giving, supporting the NIU Foundation’s incredible scholarship and fundraising opportunities.

Alumni and friends are asked to dig deep and pull together to show that we are truly “Thousands Strong” by making a donation or being a champion for this important day of philanthropy. Gifts of all sizes will go a long way to helping ensure the next classes of Huskies have what they need to make the most of their time on campus.

Additionally, if 2,000 people donate, at any amount, during the Day of Giving, it will unlock another $400,000 challenge towards student scholarships, courtesy of the Landgrafs.

In addition, over the last few weeks, alumni and friends of the University had the opportunity to upload videos of themselves describing why they are proud to be among the “Thousands Strong” who represent NIU. On Nov. 20, the NIU Alumni Association will select video submissions to include in a special “Thousands Strong” highlight reel on its social media pages, which will also include some exciting celebrity messages.

To learn more about how you can take part in this special event and change NIU history for the better from your favorite spot on the couch, visit www.thousandsstrong.com.

Scenes from Black Lives Matter street mural painting

Scenes from Black Lives Matter street mural painting

Students, faculty, staff and community members joined together on Thursday, Oct. 1 on Castle Drive to enjoy music from the NIU Black Choir, percussion and jazz ensembles of the NIU School of Music and a performance by students in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, and to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street between Davis Hall and the east lagoon. The event was presented by the NIU Center for Black Studies and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. 

NIU to host art for social justice event to paint Black Lives Matter at the university’s entrance

NIU to host art for social justice event to paint Black Lives Matter at the university’s entrance

The Northern Illinois University Center for Black Studies and the College of Visual and Performing Arts are hosting an art for social justice event, “Art and Soul.”  The event will be held Thursday, October 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the main entrance of the university on Castle Drive. The Huskie Bus Line buses will be rerouted from noon Thursday until Friday morning.

The entire community is invited to join together to help paint “Black Lives Matter” on Castle Drive.  Paint, rollers, and brushes will be supplied.

Participants will be limited to 50 at any one time, but attendees may join in at any time throughout the afternoon to make their mark and show their commitment to social justice.

Safety measures will be followed. Masks must be worn. Wipes will be used to clean the brush handles and rollers after each use.  Safety protocols will be facilitated by members of the Center for Black Studies and students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

In addition to the group painting, there will be performances and speakers throughout the event, including the NIU Black Choir, jazz ensembles, percussion ensemble, dance improvisation, and readings from a variety of texts.

“The paint used is water-based and non-toxic,” said Paul Kassel, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “It is expected to last through the rest of the fall semester. Though the image may fade, our commitment to social justice and to a strong Huskie community will remain vivid and strong. We believe that one answer to a hateful act is an act of affirmation of our values. It is in that spirit that this event is being held—to testify and signify to all that NIU holds an unshakeable belief that Black Lives Matter.”

For more information, contact the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Donee Spizzirri at dspizzirri@niu.edu.

Listen to some of our greatest hits as you run the Virtual Corn Classic

Listen to some of our greatest hits as you run the Virtual Corn Classic

The relatively new tradition of hearing songs performed by members of the NIU School of Music as you run the course of the annual Corn Classic continues this year, even as the race has gone virtual.

The Corn Classic, now in its 40th year, allows runners to choose between a 10K or 5K race. In recent years the course route has included the NIU campus. This year, runners can participate virtually and run or walk the race anywhere, any time between September 19 and 27. Though 5K and 10K routes are marked if you want to run the actual course on your own.

You can sign up for the race online, and you don’t even have to miss the thrill of hearing the NIU Steelband, Huskie Marching Band or music from the NIU Jazz Studio. A one-hour race podcast which features music, messages from NIU President Lisa Freeman and DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith, and a little history is available for download.

You can even listen to the podcast without downloading it.