by the College of Education at Illinois / Dec 8, 2017, 8:00 AM

Alumna Mary Lynn Boscardin

Alumna Mary Lynn Boscardin, Ph.D. ’84 EOL, is the most recent College of Education graduate to make her mark on and help lead the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), an organization known for advancing the success of children with exceptionalities through advocacy, standards, and professional development.

As president of CEC, she will serve as a voting member of the board, provide leadership to the organization’s planning and programs, oversee the work of CEC committees, and assist with the overall strategic direction.

Boscardin, a professor of education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was named president-elect of CEC and will begin her tenure on January 1. She joins Susan Fowler and deceased graduate Phil Jones (a longtime educator at Virginia Tech) as College of Education-affiliated scholars who have served as CEC presidents. Fowler, a former dean of the College, was recently named the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Council for Exceptional Children J.E. Wallace Wallin Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award.

Boscardin initially became involved with CEC while pursuing her doctorate at Illinois.

“Joining organizations modeled after the careers you wanted to pursue was a natural extension of formal educational programs and the beginning of building professional networks that would continue to support all aspects of your work,” she said.

The scholar lived in Urbana-Champaign for 10 years and met her husband, Marco, on the Illinois campus. The couple has two children, Tristan and Adriane.

Boscardin’s doctoral path is revealing in terms of the interdisciplinary approach to learning that the College practices today, as she merged her study as an Educational Administration & Leadership (EOL) doctoral student with the Department of Special Education. Her dissertation, chaired by Professor Emeritus Robert Henderson, was titled “A Cost Analysis of Impartial Due Process Hearings in Special Education.”

The scholars in Special Education welcomed participation from students in other disciplines and heartily did the same for Boscardin, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois in speech and hearing science. Today, she keeps in touch with Special Education scholars Lisa Monda-Amaya and Jim Shriner, enlisting them in professional scholarly and service activities.

Academically, the strong encouragement and mentoring Boscardin received from her Illinois professors and peers were formative to her future leadership roles. The alumna said numerous Illinois professors influenced her as she pursued her degrees. They included EOL professors Tom Sergiovanni, Terry Geske, and Paul Thurston, as well as scholars Ernie House and Bob Stake in the Center for Instructional Research and Curriculum Evaluation (CIRCE). Boscardin said these professors taught her to think about the transformational roles leaders play in organizations and influenced her thinking about the inter-relationships within policy, law, finance, and evaluation.

Boscardin added that the now-deceased scholars Elaine Paden and Bill Zemlin from the speech and hearing science program also influenced her educational path and career.

“At Illinois, there was an ethos and culture that students would become leaders in their respective fields,” Boscardin said. “I feel fortunate to have received the fine education I did from world-class faculty.”

Read more about Boscardin and the news about her new position at the Council for Exceptional Children.

by Jane Schingel ( / Dec 7, 2017, 1:45 PM

Winter Break office closures will impact submission timelines for external research proposals having deadlines between December 20, 2017 and January 4, 2018. We ask faculty and researchers to please plan accordingly.

The Bureau of Educational Research and the Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) offices will close the afternoon of Friday, December 22, 2017 and re-open on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

All proposals having a sponsor due date between December 15, 2017 and January 4, 2018 should be submitted to the Bureau as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for submission set-up, post-production and submission to campus. The staff at SPA pre-award intend to submit proposals due on December 20, 2017, through January 4, 2018, on or before December 20, 2017, and to use December 21 - December 22 for resubmission of proposals presenting fatal errors within sponsor submission systems.

College faculty and researchers who anticipate proposal submissions with due dates on or before January 6, 2018 are encouraged to communicate with Jane Schingel ( or 244-3564) as soon as possible to discuss individual submission needs.

by Elizabeth Niswander ( / Nov 28, 2017, 6:30 PM

Please visit the School University Research Relations Web page for details on requesting assistance to develop research partnerships between university researchers and local preK-12 schools. For Spring 2018 dissertation or faculty research projects, or external funding submissions needing school district support, please submit inquiries by Monday, December 11, for priority consideration.

by the College of Education at Illinois / Nov 28, 2017, 7:00 AM

Professor Emerita Susan Fowler

Professor Emerita Susan Fowler has received the 2018 Council for Exceptional Children J.E. Wallace Wallin Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor recognizes individuals who have made continued and sustained contributions to the education of children and youth with exceptionalities.

Fowler has been connected to the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) since 1975 thanks to her first mentor, K. Eileen Allen. She said CEC membership opened up her world as a graduate student and eventually shaped her professional development.

“Through CEC, I began writing and publishing extensively about practices to facilitate the transition of young children with disabilities from preschool to kindergarten—and later infants, toddlers, and preschoolers—to conduct many of the early studies about supporting the transition of young children from early intervention to preschool services,” Fowler said.

That early research helped lay the foundation to what is now regarded as recommended practice for supporting the transition of young children with developmental delays across services and programs, according to Fowler.

Fowler served as dean of the College of Education from 2000 to 2006. She began her tenure in the Department of Special Education as an associate professor and department head in 1990. Starting in the mid-1990s through 2000, Fowler served as associate dean for academic affairs. She retired from the College in January of 2016.  

During her career, Fowler was actively involved with national organizations, serving as president of the Division of Early Childhood of the Council of Exceptional Children, president of CEC, and president of the Higher Education Consortium of Special Education. She received the College of Education Service Award in 2014. 

Fowler believes CEC’s future will depend on increased global engagement and said the organization’s impact on her life through the years has been great.

“CEC has supported my professional development, made my research contributions accessible through its journals and conferences, and has enabled me to dream, act, and contribute to a future filled with promise for all children,” she said.


The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a professional association of educators who are dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities. CEC accomplishes its mission through advocacy, standards, and professional development.

by the College of Education at Illinois / Nov 20, 2017, 7:30 AM

Image of Research competition

Graduate and professional students at Illinois are invited to submit images of their research, creative, or scholarly work for the fifth annual Image of Research competition.

The entry deadline is Monday, January 22, 2018.

Entries will be judged by a multidisciplinary panel for connection between image, text, and research; originality; and visual impact. The work of semifinalists will be on display at a reception in the University Library during Graduate Student Appreciation week in early April.

Finalists compete for the following:

First prize: $500

Second prize: $300

Third prize: $200

Honorable mention(s): $100

People’s Choice Award: $100

The Image of Research is cosponsored by the Scholarly Commons of the University Library and the Graduate College. It is supported by a generous gift to the Scholarly Commons from the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. For more information about the competition, including requirements, deadlines, and judging criteria, please visit