When DePaul’s College of Education began 50 years ago, it
only offered one degree — in elementary education. Today the college prepares
counselors, special education teachers, principals and education policymakers
for jobs in today’s academic world through its six undergraduate and 33
graduate degree offerings.
“Our 50th anniversary is an opportunity to pause and look
back at our origins,” said Dean Paul Zionts. “As we continue to expand and
refine our offerings, our anniversary reminds us that we have a legacy of half
a century to grow from and build upon.”
To celebrate its anniversary, the College of Education will
host the inaugural Celebrating Teachers event to honor impactful teachers.
DePaul seniors nominated exceptional teachers who deserve recognition for their
work as educators.
The college will honor finalists at its Honors Convocation
Ceremony June 6. “We know deeply the value of teaching and teachers at the
College of Education as we work to prepare the best educators each day,” Zionts
said. “Each of us is likely to have been inspired by a teacher who has
positively impacted our lives and is due a ‘thank you.’
“I chose to establish an annual initiative inviting DePaul
seniors to write about a K-12 educator who had positively influenced them both
as an effort to make our students reflect on the value of teachers, and as a
forum to celebrate educators who deserve to be honored,” the dean said.
Web pages on Celebrating Teachers, including teacher
stories, student nominations and videos, are available online.
Also online is a timeline of the college’s history that will be a permanent
fixture on the college’s website.
“I am delighted to have our site
host an online platform where visitors can clearly see the lasting impact a
teacher can have on the lives of their students,” Zionts said.
In addition to Celebrating Teachers, the college is hosting
a number of events throughout the year to celebrate its anniversary, including
several symposiums on current education topics of interest to local educators
and the DePaul community. More than 200 people attended the February symposium on
standardized testing. The college’s collaboration with Facing History and
Ourselves will also include events in honor of the college’s mission and
The collaboration brings Facing History’s professional
development methodology and resources into the classroom, giving historical perspective
to current dialogue in schools about racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance and
bullying. It provides virtually every College of Education teacher-preparation
graduate with experience in the Facing History approach. Graduates also have
ongoing access to Facing History resources, workshops and seminars as they move
through their professional careers in education.
“Our collaborations with … Facing History and Ourselves
exemplify how the college is committed to improving the quality of instruction
for our students through initiatives with Chicago schools, ultimately
broadening opportunities for the success of K-12 students,” Zionts said. “It is
critical for us to work with external partners in deep, meaningful
partnerships. These relationships positively impact and inform our classroom
teaching and research while simultaneously improving the experiences of the
public school students.”
The College of Education’s 50th anniversary is a good
opportunity to reflect not only on the college’s humble beginnings, but look
forward to an exciting future full of growth and innovation.
“Over the years the college has earned and maintained a
strong reputation as a leader in the field of education,” Zionts said. “We are
clearly no longer ‘your parents’ version of a College of Education.’ To me the
most important goal for the next 50 years is to maintain our reputation by
continuing our efforts to provide relevant innovative high-quality programs and
services that prepare our students to be successful in their profession.
“I don’t know if anyone can predict what the College of
Education will look like in 50 years, but I am confident that given our rich
history of service to the community, it will be at the forefront of the field
with innovative programs designed to education students that will serve society
well in making a difference in the lives of children,” Zionts said.
The anniversary is also a great opportunity to reconnect
with alumni. “Some of the most rewarding experiences I have had at DePaul have
been in meeting alumni of all ages who relay their personal stories of how well
the programs at DePaul prepared and served them over the course of their
careers,” the dean said.