Since 1867, the University of Illinois has led the nation in bringing social innovation together with breakthrough thinking to create a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn. The Center for Education in Small Urban Communities carries that tradition forward today.

The Importance of Small Urban Communities

The majority of research on educational reform in the U.S. is focused on large urban and rural communities. However, over the past decade, small urban centers have become the model type of community in the country. These communities—representing nearly three-fourths of the school districts in the nation—are experiencing the opportunities and challenges of changing demographics, globalization, federal intervention into school policy, education for economic development, and other social trends to the same or greater extent than large urban centers.

Bringing Research to Practice

How are small urban communities and their educational institutions dealing with these opportunities and challenges? In what ways can a genuine school-university partnership serve as a change agent to improve educational opportunities for all students?  How can we shape policy and practice in similar communities around the country? The Center works to address these critical questions through the establishment of long-term, interactive, and trusting partnerships with our local communities. These relationships create a fertile bed for exciting research partnerships and innovative projects and programs such as the Chancellor’s Academy, the Teacher Collaborator ProjectSOAR, and many others.

What Our Partners Say

"The Chancellor's Academy was the most mentally invigorating week of my career as a teacher!"

"Our Teacher Collaborator has been a catalyst for instructional change in our school. We have grown in our confidence and skills in presenting mini lessons for the writer's workshop and in assessing the students' writing. We have seen real growth in our students' writing. Students that were writing just one-page stories are now writing three-page stories and using more detail."

"The collaboration that I have seen so far has demonstrated the passion and commitment of the Center for not only the districts, schools, and teachers, but also the students and the community."