Beth Hatt, professor of educational administration and foundations at Illinois State University, has been named the director of the new University of Illinois Springfield School of Education effective June 16.
Hatt has been a professor and served in various leadership roles during the past ten years in the College of Education at Illinois State University, one of the largest teacher education programs in the United States.
“I believe in the power of education to change lives,” Hatt said. “I am honored and excited to collaborate with the faculty, staff, students and community partners in the new School of Education to continue to graduate inspiring teachers and leaders. Despite all of the challenges in the world today, UIS students are still wanting to major in education to make a difference in their communities. I am thrilled to join the University of Illinois Springfield and feeling very hopeful about the future potential and possibilities.”
Hatt will lead the new UIS School of Education, which was formed in 2021 in order to create the infrastructure and programs for undergraduate and graduate students needed to address the ever-changing landscape in K-12 education in Illinois and help with the chronic teacher shortage.
“We believe Hatt’s experience, demeanor and innovative ideas are ideal as she becomes the first director of the School of Education, and are excited to see how she positions the School for future success and helps our students with their educational and professional goals,” said Jim Ermatinger, interim dean of the UIS College of Education and Human Services.
Hatt earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in an interdisciplinary, social justice-based program titled, “Culture, Curriculum and Change,” and her undergraduate degrees in psychology and sociology with emphases on education and child development from Indiana University-Bloomington.
Her background in education includes teaching incarcerated youth and alternative high school students. She has specialized training from TEACCH, a program focused on meeting the needs of students with autism spectrum disorder.
Hatt's research interests include the cultural production of smartness and identity, restorative practices and leadership, the school to prison pipeline and funds of knowledge curriculum development.
She has been a fellow of the Spencer Foundation and a recipient of two Fulbright-Hays grants to Mexico. Hatt has received the Manahan Award for Excellence in Teaching and the College of Education Researcher of the Year award at Illinois State University.
Hatt has published in top-tier journals such as the American Educational Research Journal; Race, Ethnicity, and Education; and“The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.” She is the co-author, with Luis Urrieta, of an upcoming book with Oxford University Press titled, “Figured Worlds: Theory, Method and Practice.”