Program Highlights

Faculty Highlight

Congratulations Karen Swan, EdD.

James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership

Recipient of the National University Technology Network (NUTN) Distinguished Service Award


Student Reflections

Name: Courtney Klaus

Degree: Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership

Year started: 2015

Graduation year: 2017

What prompted you to pursue an online master’s degree? I decided to pursue an online degree because I wanted to continue my schooling, but work at my own pace. I knew an online program was best for me because I could work on assignments during a time of my convenience.

What were your career goals prior to entering the MAE program, and in what ways did the MAE program prepare you in the accomplishment of these goals? I wanted to be able to take on more leadership roles in my school. I truly feel the MAE program helped me in doing just that! Since starting the program, I have taken on more opportunities that have helped me to become a leader.

What has your experience been like in the MAE program thus far, or what was your experience like being in the MAE program? I had an excellent experience! I had professors that were dedicated to helping me achieve. The assignments and curriculum really challenged me to think about how to become a leader at my school.

What course or courses do you feel were most beneficial to your career endeavors? EDL 542 – Action Research for Leadership, this class was particularly helpful to me. The assignments and discussions with classmates forced me to think about what I would do in certain situations. This has been beneficial even after leaving the program.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned throughout your graduate career at UIS?  I was reminded that education is always changing. Staying in the loop and learning about new techniques and technology will make your teaching even better!


Name: Jennifer Smith

Degree: Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership

Year started: 2015

Graduation year: 2017

What prompted you to pursue an online master’s degree? I began by pursuing a certificate in ESL through UIS.  I enjoyed the courses I had taken online, and even though I already had master’s degrees in English and Education through different institutions, I decided to continue taking UIS coursework to complete the degree in teacher leadership.

What were your career goals prior to entering the MAE program, and in what ways did the MAE program prepare you in the accomplishment of these goals? My primary career goal was to become a more effective educator.  By completing the coursework for the MAE program, I have learned how to utilize PDSA in order be more systematic in the changes I implement into my classroom.  I have also had numerous opportunities to reflect upon my teaching practice, and receive effective feedback from my professors and peers.

What has your experience been like in the MAE program thus far, or what was your experience like being in the MAE program? My overall experience in the program has been very positive.  The assignments I completed were based on the needs of my students, which transferred directly to my work in the classroom.  I was also able to receive timely feedback from my professors and peers, which I was also able to incorporate into my classroom.

What course or courses do you feel were most beneficial to your career endeavors? While I gained practical information in each of my courses, I have found my capstone course to be the most beneficial to my career endeavors.  This course has provided me with the opportunity to tackle a school-wide issue and see positive gains.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned throughout your graduate career at UIS? A valuable lesson my coursework at UIS has reinforced is that everyone has an expertise.  I have learned a variety of information from both my professors and classmates in this program.  Everyone has been more than willing to offer advice about various teaching situations and share the lessons they learned from their experiences.

What advice would you give to other students on how to best deal with the pressures of pursuing an online graduate degree? Online courses are great because of the flexibility they provide, but regularly scheduling times to complete coursework is a must for staying on track.  Planning ahead is vitally important, as is knowing when to seek help.  If you have a question or a concern, speak up.