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Our students prepare to change the world through revamped programs

by The College of Education / Jul 23, 2014


The College of Education at Illinois has revamped its undergraduate program offerings in order to prepare teachers and educators to meet the challenges and demands of 21st-century learners. The new programs represent our philosophy and approach to preparing our students to succeed in both formal and non-formal learning environments. The programs include courses from our redesigned teacher licensure programs and a new, non-licensure Bachelor of Science in Education and Learning Studies major. They leverage the superior faculty and research capabilities of our College and afford our students the opportunity to learn alongside some of the greatest minds in the field of education. We talked to Dr. Christopher M. Span, associate dean for Academic Programs, to get his take on the changes.

What kinds of degrees are available to students through this program?
They encompass all undergraduate majors housed in the College of Education at Illinois. This includes undergraduate and graduate licensure programs in early childhood education, elementary, and special education, the secondary minor, a proposed middle grades program still in development, and the newly rolled out non-licensure major, which is called Learning and Education Studies.

Describe the new Bachelors of Science in Learning and Education Studies major.
The Learning and Education Studies major does not involve licensure, it is a general degree that has all the key components of a well-rounded education major: a focus on learning, assessment, and evaluation, as well as workplace training, cultural understanding, globalization, diversity, and technology. It meets the calls for formal education to provide students with 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration.

How will the revamped programs benefit students who are preparing for 21st-century careers in education?
The programs will prepare outstanding teachers and leaders to address the needs of learners from diverse backgrounds by developing deep content knowledge, a strong pedagogical foundation, and expertise with adaptive technology. Our graduates are critical and collaborative citizens locally and globally. They are mindful of context while pushing the boundaries of possibility in schools and workplaces of the future. In particular, graduates from the Learning and Education Studies major will be prepared for work in training and program development units, international schools, private and alternative schools, non-government organizations (NGOs), and other education-related positions in agencies, business, and government. They will gain expertise in the design, analysis and evaluation of learning environments, and they will be prepared to take on teachings and leadership opportunities as educators, knowledge managers, policy makers, analysts, and professionals in education, government, health care, business, and non-profit organizations.

Who should apply to these programs?
High school seniors, transfers from community colleges, and current Illinois students who want to teach children or youth from birth through the 12th grade. Students not specifically interested in becoming a licensed teacher but who are interested in attaining a baccalaureate in education to work in business, government, or not-for-profit educational settings, such as human resources, health care, data management, and international relations should also apply.

Can students currently enrolled in a program at the College or students interested in transferring to the College take part in these new programs?
YES, students can intercollege transfer (ICT) into both the teacher licensure majors and the Learning and Education Studies major once they have completed all state and college requirements. The Learning and Education Studies major is ideal for students interested in the history, sociology, philosophy, and economics of education from domestic and international perspectives; interested in diversity and intercultural education; interested in human resource education and workplace training and development; interested in educational psychology, data management, and analytics; and interested in exploring the foundations and principles of learning and the application of problem-solving skills in educational, health care, business, and other organizational contexts.

When will the new degree programs be open for general enrollment?
Students can apply in Spring 2015 to enroll in Fall 2015.

For more information about degree programs, contact the Student Academic Affairs Office at or call 217-333-2800217-333-2800.