2017 Higher Ed Forum

For those of you who were able to attend this year’s Higher Ed Forum in Bloomington, you know how informative it was. It was also great networking with all the others in the state of Illinois who work with teacher preparation! We are so fortunate that Gateways to Opportunity has been able to provide us with this venue to learn and work together. With funding uncertainty, this may not always be possible, at least in its present form, so taking advantage of it while we have it is so very important.

Competencies was definitely the “buzzword” for this forum. Gateways to Opportunities has done much work in this area with the help of Nancy Latham and Johnna Darragh Ernst. This is the direction that the field seems to be moving so learning what these are, how they will effect teacher preparation, and when they will go into effect are important for institutions of higher education to know as they are implementing their new programs.

Speaking of new programs, the time to implement new programs is approaching fast. If you have not already redesigned your early childhood teacher licensure program, you will need to know what needs to be done and by when. One of the presentations at the forum was about this timeline.

Everyone recognizes that all of those involved in teacher preparation have multiple demands on our time and energy. What that means is that, even if we wanted to attend, we are not always able to do so. That is where we are doubly blessed! Gateways videotaped all the sessions and will be posting these videos on the HERO website (http://www.ilfacultyresources.org/ – videos should be posted soon). If you missed the entire event, you can view the various presentations; if you came but could not go to all the breakout sessions you wanted, you can view the ones you missed. Either way this is a great resource!

I have talked about the HERO website in past blogs. It is a great resource to those of us working in preparing early childhood educators. You must register on the site in order to access all its components but the registration is simple and FREE! In addition to the videos from the 2017 Higher Ed Forum, there are lots of other items to explore.

Lastly, I have been honored to be the ILAECTE blogger for the past two years. It has been an interesting journey, learning how to blog (style, length, etc.) and how to navigate the program that Western Illinois University uses for blogs. I have enjoyed doing this and hope that the blog readers feel they have been better informed because of the blog. I am turning over the mantle of blogger/webmaster to Dr. Boh Young Lee, my colleague at WIU. She will be the one organizing the ILAECTE blog and website and I am sure she will do a great job.

The blog, however, does need all of your help in two ways. First, we are always looking for guest bloggers. If you have a particular pedagogy strategy that has worked for you, share it. Any research you have done? Share it! Any new and/or important information on early childhood education statewide or nationally? Share it! Lastly, this blog was developed to provide you, the teacher preparation faculty in Illinois, a way to share your voice. Even if you do not want to write a blog, you can still comment on those written by others. Our desire is for this blog to be a two-way communication venue for our members. Share your thoughts!

Farewell and thank you for this opportunity!

Debbie Lee recently retired as an associate professor of early childhood education at Western Illinois University. She has worked in the field of early childhood for more than 44 years, doing everything from running a licensed day care home to teaching on the college level.

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