Over the last year, I have shared with many of our alumni and friends about new initiatives and breakthroughs at the College of Education in digital learning, thanks to our strong research in educational technology. Looking back today as I am writing this message, I see how our work in these areas has boldly prepared us for the challenges now being faced in our current landscape. We should all take a great deal of pride in the priority, as a College community, of being at the forefront of educational innovation and new pedagogy.
We have all felt disruption in our daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent national unrest. In the stories shared in this Alumni Update, you will see examples of insight, leadership, and responsiveness from the College. Even more stories are at our website, where you can read about how Nitasha Mathayas defended her PhD virtually, blazing a new path for—and helping educate—those to follow. You can read how College leadership, like Dr. Sarah McCarthey, are advocating for teacher preparation for online instruction and equitable access for students’ remote learning needs. This is the resiliency we’re all looking for to move education forward.
Even though we are apart, the College ended the semester with a big celebration. Our 2020 Virtual Convocation event looked different than usual, but still honored our exceptional graduates. I hope you will take a few moments to listen to this year’s Outstanding Student Medal recipients and the message from Dean James Anderson as we recognized the Class of 2020.
While things remain uncertain as we navigate what the next year of teaching and learning will look like, I know that Education at Illinois will be nimble and meet challenges head on, just as we have done throughout our history.
In closing, I want to share words Chancellor Jones shared with our community earlier this week. He was reflecting on the events that have taken place in Minneapolis and so many other cities across the nation.
“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a community committed to the scholarship, engagement, equity, inclusion, and leadership that dismantles systems that utilize power, privilege, and violence to disenfranchise, diminish, and destroy.”
My hope is that now more than ever, the Education at Illinois community will work to meet these ideals and be at the leading edge of the change needed in our world today.
Yours in Orange and Blue,
Assistant Dean for Advancement
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