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College Newsletter

Message from the Dean

 

A TOAST TO TRIUMPHS ... LARGE AND SMALL.

A Message from Dean Mary Kalantzis

Despite the cold in many spots, this is a wonderful time of year. The joyous bustle of the holiday season and the promise of an exciting New Year are reminders that each of us shines in wide-ranging ways. Collaborating together, we can positively change the world.

I am inspired by people like Arijhanna Mann, a recent graduate of our College who recognized early on the unfairness of economic disparities in school and decided to do something about it. Now she is educating and encouraging third-grade children at Hamilton Elementary School in Chicago. Arijhanna’s motivating story reflects the passion that many educators nationwide display every day.

Here in our community we are witnessing a culture of innovation being stimulated by U4 Innovate, a newly launched project by the Champaign Unit 4 School District and numerous partners such as the Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE). The work of MSTE in Kenwood Elementary School is bringing technology to the classroom, giving students the 21st-century skills they will need in a highly skilled future workforce.

In recent months two steadfast events within our College have continued to educate, inspire, and give hope to diverse learners and young learners. Scholar Ann P. Kaiser spoke at the 10th anniversary of the Goldstick Family Lecture in the Study of Communication Disorders. She is a woman at the forefront of the field of early language intervention for children with language delays and developmental disabilities, and her talk dramatically affected those in a standing-room-only audience.

Our biennial Youth Literature Festival was once again a success. The sheer number of authors who visited more than 70 schools and libraries in Champaign County and nearby counties is impressive, but what’s truly of note are the children who are positively impacted by these visits. We have reports from teachers that many children’s interaction with an author led them to being much more engaged in class, and in one case heard that a student was “changed forever” because of the bonding he experienced with author Alice McGinty, who writes about spiders.

I don’t expect you’ll bring in the New Year by bonding over spiders, but I do hope you can engage in the warmth and laughter of family, friends, and colleagues. As you and yours reflect on your own triumphs and strive to meet end-of-year deadlines, please congratulate yourselves for what you’ve accomplished these past 12 months—it’s probably more than you realize.

Mary Kalantzis
Professor and Dean
 

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Blog: Notes from the Dean

Periodic updates from College of Education Dean Mary Kalantzis.