President Barack Obama has called for universal preschool for four-year-olds in his last two State of the Union addresses, which has so far led to 30 states increasing funding for early childhood education and the federal government giving an additional $1 billion to Early Head Start. Bill de Blasio, the newly elected mayor of New York City, is also pushing for citywide preschool for children, and other mayors and governors have joined in the movement.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to tell readers of the NLU blog a little bit about my work. As a community psychologist, I am interested in strengthening partnerships between schools, families and communities. In particular, I am interested in strengthening the connections between K-12 education, post-secondary education and training, and employment in low-income communities. I am collaborating with the Chicago Public Schools Department of Family and Community Engagement to support the activities of the Community Action Council in Bronzeville.
To say communications has changed in the past decade is putting it lightly. The social media explosion, the proliferation of mobile technology, and the overall driving force of the Web have created a seismic shift in the way information is released and consumed.
It can be daunting — particularly to generations who didn’t grow up with their eyes already glued to a smartphone. But an exciting new program at NLU is preparing students to navigate the evolving world of communications today and thrive in a wide range of careers, no matter what their background.
Chicago regularly ranks high on lists of “most global cities” compiled by journals and research groups for its role as a major center in international business, travel and immigration — making it an ideal site for the continued evolution of a new kind of outreach at National Louis University.
Building on a core mission of providing access to high-quality degree programs for students from diverse backgrounds, NLU is also seeking to become part of the larger global conversation about education, contributing to meaningful policy changes and adopting new innovations and approaches to better inform the work of its own faculty.
For those visiting Florida, it might seem like the perfect place to live: sunshine, beaches and tourism destinations. But like any other state in the U.S., Florida must also provide infrastructure and services to its residents — including public education. And with that comes some unique challenges.
“I’ve gotten lost looking for schools that don’t register on my GPS,” laughs Carol Burg, Senior Enrollment Advisor for NLU Florida. “They literally put schools in the middle of orange groves in Florida. So there’s a lot of opportunity, but there are different challenges — unusual challenges that a person used to working in the Chicago Public Schools area would never imagine.”
A new year brings new plans and new goals. At National Louis, our faculty and staff continue to work hard in the pursuit of providing high-quality education and services to our students — and with that comes a wide range of tasks and projects, inside and outside the classroom.
For me in 2014, I will continue to work on making this blog a platform that best represents the University by showcasing the voices and stories of our students, faculty and staff. Some others at NLU shared their professional plans for the new year below. We’d love to hear yours, too. Feel free to add them in the comments!
Recently the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released the results of its Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a leading survey of education systems conducted every three years and taken by 15-year-olds in 65 countries. The results revealed that U.S. student scores are stagnant while other countries’ are improving. With this in mind, for the U.S., and Chicago specifically, to become more capable of impact on a global scale, we need to fortify our foundations through education. From a local perspective, we need a “Chicago 3.0” plan.
2014 is shaping up to be a big year for NLU’s P.A.C.E. program.
P.A.C.E. — the Professional Assistance Center for Education for young adults with multiple learning disabilities — runs a two-year program that helps students build life skills and gain a greater sense of independence. And a big part is placing these students in meaningful internships to prepare them for future careers. Wendi Gearing oversees that effort and hopes to expand internship sites further in the new year after securing partnerships in 2013 with Mario Tricoci salon, Crafty Beaver hardware and Unleashed dog daycare, to name a few. In addition, she said P.A.C.E. will continue to grow its strong relationship with Rush University Medical Center — one that’s led to the hire of former students.
Carlos Azcoitia, Ed.D., NLU Distinguished Professor of Practice and member of the Chicago Board of Education, recently wrote an opinion piece for Catalyst Chicago, “Creating equity and excellence for all schools.”
Chicago remains the undisputed capital of improv comedy — a place that for decades has attracted top talent, developed it on local stages, and sent it along to television and the big screen. With a priority on audience engagement and performing in the moment, improv also develops skills that have real applications off stage. It’s an idea that’s catching on at NLU.