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College to honor Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Achievement graduates March 31

by the College of Education at Illinois / Feb 23, 2017

Distinguished Alumni & Young Alumni Achievement Awards

The College of Education is again looking forward to hosting the Distinguished Alumni & Young Alumni Achievement Awards event, which honors both seasoned alumni and a young graduate who is leading the way in the education field.

Sponsored by the Education Alumni Association and hosted by the Office of Advancement in the College, this year’s event will take place Friday, March 31, in the Technology Room of the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner and the awards program to follow. Interim Dean James D. Anderson and members of the Education Alumni Association will be on hand to honor the awardees.

“We always look forward to this annual event,” said Lisa Denson-Rives, associate director of alumni relations and stewardship. “These individuals are the best educators in their fields, and Education at Illinois is known for producing some of the best and brightest people in higher education around the globe.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to graduates who have attained outstanding success and national or international distinction in their chosen profession or life’s work, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on, or bring honor to, the College and their Alma Mater.

The Young Alumni Achievement Award recognizes young alumni less than 40 years of age, as of May 1 during the year of the award, who have made outstanding professional contributions to his or her field since graduating from the College.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award honorees are:

Dave EdyburnDave Edyburn
Ph.D. 1987 Special Education
College of Education and Human Performance, Associate Dean for Research, University of Central Florida

Dave is a visionary leader in the field of special education. He has served the field in the capacity of an editor of five journals; published more than 150 articles; received more than $7 million in funding; and has presented his research nationally and internationally. His research interests include the application of technology to enhance teaching and learning. He has published and presented extensively on his work in the area of technology during the past 30 years, and his work in the field of special education has been cited often. Dave is a thought leader and a committed professional who seeks to help change and shape the lives of professionals, students, and families in the field of special education.

Mark GierlMark Gierl
Ph.D. 1996 Educational Psychology
Professor and Director of the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation, University of Alberta in Edmonton
Mark’s specialization is in educational and psychological measurement. His current research is focused on automatic item generation. Mark works closely with government agencies, testing companies, and academic publishers to implement item-generation principles produced from his research into their test development practices. He has published extensively during his 20-year career and is an extraordinary mentor who has inspired and fostered the intellectual development of many of his students. They, in turn, have gone on to do exceptionally well in their careers. Mark is the director of the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation (CRAME) at the University of Alberta.

Elaine HorwitzElaine Horwitz
Ph.D. 1980 Curriculum & Instruction (MA 1975, LAS)
Curriculum and Instruction Professor, University of Texas at Austin
Elaine has conducted groundbreaking research on the emotional experiences of second language learners and has influenced language teaching worldwide. She has been the director of an internationally recognized graduate program in the field of second language learning and teaching at the University of Texas at Austin and continues to be an influential mentor to countless language teachers and researchers. Elaine holds a master’s degree in French language teaching, and her doctorate is in second language learning and teaching from the University of Illinois. She has 73 doctoral dissertations completed under her direction, as well as numerous master’s theses and two undergraduate honor theses.

Leslie RutkowskiLeslie Rutkowski
Ph.D. 2007, MS 2005 Educational Psychology
Centre for Educational Measurement Professor, University of Oslo, Norway
Leslie is internationally recognized for her research on large-scale assessments. She earned a master's degree from the College of LAS in statistics and a doctorate from the Department of Educational Psychology. Leslie has made a lasting impression through her research and teaching on educational inquiry and analysis. After completing research on post-traumatic stress disorder, she worked as a research associate with the Data Processing and Research Center in Germany, which is part of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Leslie returned to the U.S. in 2010 and became an assistant professor of inquiry methodology in the Counseling and Education Psychology Department at Indiana University. Five years later, her experience in the international statistics field led Leslie to her current position as a professor at the Centre for Education Measurement at the University of Oslo. She has been published in numerous journals and has published a handbook on large-scale assessments.

Michael WischnowskiMichael Wischnowski
Ph.D. 1996 Special Education
Ralph C. Wilson Jr. School of Education, Dean and Professor, St. John Fisher College
Michael has served as dean in the School of Education at St John Fisher College since 2012. He has focused much of his scholarly work on systems-level policy and administration within the early childhood special education and early intervention fields. Michael has been published in both research and practitioner journals, as well as other publications. Highly regarded in his field, he has presented at state, national, and international conferences and has been a mentor to many. Michael has served as associate editor of  Young Exceptional Children, a practitioner-focused, peer-reviewed journal published by the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Steven WiseSteven Wise
Ph.D. 1981 Educational Pschology
Northwest Evaluation Association, Senior Research Fellow
Steven has been successful in various roles: professor, editor, mentor, author, supervisor, researcher, and leader. His achievements during his career in both academia and industry have extended to outstanding research and significant contributions to his field, to scholarly dissemination, to service to his profession, and to the mentoring of emerging scholars. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Steven co-developed the Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Education doctoral program and served as its first program head. He was also a founding member of the journal Applied Measurement in Education, one of the most influential journals in the field of educational measurement and assessment. Steven has also been a member of the editorial boards of multiple prestigious journals and participates on the Technical Advisory Committees for high-stakes testing programs. He has also served as a program co-chair for Division D, the American Educational Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education.

This year’s Young Alumni Achievement Award honoree is:

Steven LukeSteven Luke
Ph.D. 2011, MS 2008 Educational Psychology
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Center Assistant Professor, Brigham Young University
Steve received his doctorate in the Department of Educational Psychology in 2011, with a certificate of advanced study in second language acquisition and teacher education. During his time at Illinois, he received two teaching awards, including the Sandra Goss Lucas Award for excellence in teaching introductory psychology. Since graduating, Steve has published 25 papers that have appeared in the top research journals within his field. His work has been cited collectively more than 300 times, demonstrating a substantial early impact in the field of educational psychology. According to Kiel Christianson, Steve’s nominator, “Steve is on his way to becoming a superstar in the fields of cognitive and educational psychology.”

Those interested in attending the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards can RSVP to Stacey Wombles at