FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  Date: October 18, 2001

         Contact: Donna McCracken, 206-6716

UIS Teacher Education students donate thousands of hours to area schools

SPRINGFIELD – By the time the fall 2001 semester ends in December, future teachers enrolled in the Teacher Education program at the University of Illinois at Springfield will have donated almost 5,000 hours of time to students in classrooms in public and private schools all over central Illinois.

Peggy Dunn, visiting academic adviser/placement coordinator for Teacher Education at UIS, explained that this fall, pre-service teacher candidates were placed at 141 sites, from Peoria to Litchfield and from east of Decatur and as far west as Havana. Each of these candidates is responsible for completing 35 hours of field service at his or her placement.

“These students are volunteering their time,” said Dunn. “Yes, they get academic credit, but they aren’t paid for the work.” Still, says Dunn, this is a good deal for the students as well as their placement schools because by the time the students are certified and ready to teach on their own, each will have logged approximately 600 hours working in a classroom.

Dunn explained that in the past, a field placement was used mainly as time for student-teachers to observe what went on in age-appropriate classrooms. “Our students are actively involved,” she said. “This is a valuable learning and sharing experience for both the pre-service teachers, the classroom teachers, and the children in the classrooms, as well as the school community as a whole. UIS Teacher Education students can bring some new ideas to the classroom while certified teachers share some of their tried-and-true methods.

“This is really a partnership for the future of education in Illinois,” Dunn added.

 With a fall headcount of 347 students enrolled, Teacher Education (TEP) currently represents the largest student population at UIS.

TEP provides course work that, when combined with an appropriate academic major, leads to initial Illinois certification at the elementary or secondary level. UIS students who plan to earn certification as elementary teachers major in disciplines such as psychology, biology, chemistry, visual arts, economics, history, English, mathematical sciences, political studies, or

sociology/anthropology. Students who hope to teach at the secondary level major in programs leading to certification in English, general or biological science, mathematics, or social studies.  Students work closely with advisers in both TEP and their majors to integrate their courses of study; students with degrees work to reach Illinois certification as part of the Teacher Education program at UIS.

Summing up her philosophy about TEP, Dunn quotes Garrison Keillor: “‘Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.’ Teacher candidates at UIS can easily say that nothing they do for the children in the classrooms in which they complete their field practicum and finally their student teaching is ever wasted,” she said. “We are growing the future of a nation; one child at a time with education.”

Larry Stonecipher, dean of UIS’ College of Education and Human Services, added, “The increased interest in professional education reflects the teacher shortages in the areas of math, science, and reading. UIS is attracting high quality candidates to become future teachers.”

Information about Teacher Education at UIS is available from the program office at (217) 206-6682 or on the web at, or contact Dunn by phone at (217) 206-6934 or e-mail at .