In the Spotlight: Elizabeth McGreal Cook, M.A.
Elizabeth McGreal Cook is a 2013 graduate of the Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership program (MTL) in the Department of Educational Leadership and currently serves as the Director of Training and Employment Engagement in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Speech Communication and has more than two decades of professional experience in program management, communication, business development, training, fundraising, and sales in higher education, private industry, and not-for-profit. Drawing from her family’s history of teachers, and her own interest in the workplace performance improvement, she decided to further expand her education. She was attracted to the MTL program by the rich course offerings that matched her professional interests and the flexibility of the online learning experience.
As soon as you talk to her you can feel the passion she has for not only the MTL department but for UIS as a campus. She said of her experience in the MTL Department “It really teaches a worldview of education that gives students the tools to build stronger teams in schools and in the workplace. I benefited so much form the program because the core and elective courses were immediately applicable to my work.”
Which courses stood out as the most beneficial and why? All the courses were beneficial in different ways. One course that stood out to me was EDL 543, Instructional Design, taught by Dr. Day. The concepts regarding evaluation and assessment I discovered in the class led me to pursue an independent study the next semester. Additionally, the courses I took from Dr. Bogle and Dr. Swan gave me new perspectives and helped me to grow academically and professionally.
How has the Coursework helped in your current position? Because the concepts that were taught in each course can be applied in the workplace, I felt that I was able to start adding more value to my position from the first semester. The coursework helped me to expand my professional role in the areas of project management and training/development.
How did having all the coursework online help you in your everyday life? While I appreciated the flexibility online learning offers, I think it’s important to note that you receive the full academic experience while being challenged to work and learn independently. The online experience required me to take full responsibility for my graduate school experience. “There was no hiding in the back row.”
What’s the most important or valuable thing you have learned whether that be from a time at UIS or because of UIS? I cannot properly express the gratitude I have to the faculty for their outstanding instruction and support. As a student you only get stronger as you progress through the program and every semester you are adding more value to the workplace.
What advice would you give to current MTL candidates? I would encourage students to think how the academic material can be applied to their school workplace. The experience is what they make of it. Also, time management is key to a successful experience. And when you are ready to graduate, don’t miss the chance to attend the online graduate brunch, and celebrate with the amazing students and faculty.
What Our Student’s Say About the MTL Program — Student Testimonials
My Experience at UIS has been tremendously awarding. Although the online Teacher Leadership program is rigid and challenging, it is still flexible enough to allow educators to undertake various courses while working. Students engage in dialogic exchanges that are exciting, profound, and critically meaningful. The diversity of this student population helps build a safe and healthy academic community for everyone to thrive. The distinguished faculty is highly committed to helping students attain their professional goals. I can proudly say that the wealth of experience I gained at UIS was the driving force behind my admission into a doctoral program at DePaul University.
Spring 2014 Graduate
Thank you, Ryan, for the opportunity to comment on my experiences as a graduate student at UIS in the MTL program. I would just like to thank all of the instructors, each and every one, for their advice and wisdom. I have found the MTL program at UIS to be interesting, informative, and appropriately challenging. I have developed much respect for the instructors who have given their support and advice to me, especially during the times when I had serious health concerns and when my mother became ill and passed away. Your instructors have been wonderful! I would definitely recommend the program to other educators who wish to sharpen their skills.