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College Newsletter

Message from the Dean

 

NEW YEAR GOALS INFLUENCED BY MLK'S VISION

A Message from Dean Mary Kalantzis

With warm wishes this bright New Year, the College of Education at Illinois welcomes you back to your campus and the start of a fresh semester. We hope that your time away during the holidays with family and friends was enjoyable and relaxing.

We here in East Central Illinois saw a wintry batch of snow and frigid temperatures in early January. Since then, however, the sun has made an appearance enough times to give the landscape a wondrous beauty. We hope you are feeling reinvigorated in your environment, whatever the temperature may be.

At the University of Illinois and in the College, we begin the spring semester by celebrating the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 2015 theme of the University’s King commemoration is “Developing a World Perspective: Building Global Communities.” For the 13th straight year the College’s Center for Education in Small Urban Communities and the MLK Jr. Planning Committee will host the MLK Creative Expressions competition, a writing contest for grade-school students. This year’s talented winners and honorable mention recipients will be announced Jan. 24 at the MLK Community Celebration and Writing Contest Presentation, which takes place at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

The impassioned goals of King and those who rightly believe in the quest for a world free of prejudice and inequality are more significant than ever, given the civil unrest that occurred last year because of the high-profile deaths of African-American men during interactions with police. As faculty members in our College begin teaching the diverse, intelligent, and technologically savvy Class of 2015 this semester, I’m reminded that I joined the College eight years ago because I knew with all my heart that thought-leaders in the education field strive to expand educational opportunities for all, regardless of background. I believe this to be true more than ever, and, what’s more, I have found that such leaders in education engender the move toward social justice and inclusive sociality. We need people in all realms who can be trusted to deal with the complex dialogues that society requires with perseverance, honesty, integrity, and good will. Education at Illinois is an institution that delivers on those aspirations.

Our College Newsletter this month is as impactful as ever. We hope you enjoy reading about Satia Marshall Orange ’64 Spec.Ed., who will serve as a Call-to-Action speaker at the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sunrise Celebration during the American Library Association’s winter meeting in Chicago. Her talk demonstrates how graduates of our College continually do their part to create social conditions that recognize, value, and utilize this country’s cultural and linguistic diversity.

The newsletter also conveys the tremendous work that several of our scholars are engaging in—from an influential new education policy book edited by Professor Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher to research by Professor Meghan M. Burke that examined parents’ use of procedural safeguards in resolving disputes with schools about the education provided to their children with autism. After reading all these pieces, I think you’ll see why exciting research and fresh, revealing perspectives are points of pride at Education at Illinois.

Happy New Year, everyone. We at the College wish you lots of success in your academic and personal endeavors in 2015.

Mary Kalantzis
Professor and Dean
 

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Periodic updates from College of Education Dean Mary Kalantzis.