DePaul’s College of Education Celebrates 50 Years of Shaping Educators


Paul Zionts, dean, College of Education

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–May 2, 2013.  When DePaul’s College of Education began 50 years ago, it only offered one degree — in elementary education. Today the college prepares counselors, special education teachers, principals and education policymakers for jobs in today’s academic world through its six undergraduate and 33 graduate degree offerings.  

“Our 50th anniversary is an opportunity to pause and look back at our origins,” said Dean Paul Zionts. “As we continue to expand and refine our offerings, our anniversary reminds us that we have a legacy of half a century to grow from and build upon.”  

To celebrate its anniversary, the College of Education will host the inaugural Celebrating Teachers event to honor impactful teachers. DePaul seniors nominated exceptional teachers who deserve recognition for their work as educators.  

The college will honor finalists at its Honors Convocation Ceremony June 6. “We know deeply the value of teaching and teachers at the College of Education as we work to prepare the best educators each day,” Zionts said. “Each of us is likely to have been inspired by a teacher who has positively impacted our lives and is due a ‘thank you.’  

“I chose to establish an annual initiative inviting DePaul seniors to write about a K-12 educator who had positively influenced them both as an effort to make our students reflect on the value of teachers, and as a forum to celebrate educators who deserve to be honored,” the dean said.  

Web pages on Celebrating Teachers, including teacher stories, student nominations and videos, are available online. Also online is a timeline of the college’s history that will be a permanent fixture on the college’s website.  

“The student essays and the teachers will be featured on our College of Education website,” Zionts said. “I am delighted to have our site host an online platform where visitors can clearly see the lasting impact a teacher can have on the lives of their students.”  

In addition to Celebrating Teachers, the college is hosting a number of events throughout the year to celebrate its anniversary, including several symposiums on current education topics of interest to local educators and the DePaul community. More than 200 people attended the February symposium on standardized testing. The college’s collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves will also include events in honor of the college’s mission and anniversary.  

The collaboration brings Facing History’s professional development methodology and resources into the classroom, giving historical perspective to current dialogue in schools about racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance and bullying. It provides virtually every College of Education teacher-preparation graduate with experience in the Facing History approach. Graduates also have ongoing access to Facing History resources, workshops and seminars as they move through their professional careers in education. 

“Our collaborations with … Facing History and Ourselves exemplify how the college is committed to improving the quality of instruction for our students through initiatives with Chicago schools, ultimately broadening opportunities for the success of K-12 students,” Zionts said. “It is critical for us to work with external partners in deep, meaningful partnerships. These relationships positively impact and inform our classroom teaching and research while simultaneously improving the experiences of the public school students.” 

The College of Education’s 50th anniversary is a good opportunity to reflect not only on the college’s humble beginnings, but look forward to an exciting future full of growth and innovation. 

“Over the years the college has earned and maintained a strong reputation as a leader in the field of education,” Zionts said. “We are clearly no long ‘your parents’ version of a College of Education.’ To me the most important goal for the next 50 years is to maintain our reputation by continuing our efforts to provide relevant innovative high-quality programs and services that prepare our students to be successful in their profession.

“I don’t know if anyone can predict what the College of Education will look like in 50 years, but I am confident that given our rich history of service to the community, it will be at the forefront of the field with innovative programs designed to education students that will serve society well in making a difference in the lives of children,” Zionts said.

The anniversary is also a great opportunity to reconnect with alumni. “Some of the most rewarding experiences I have had at DePaul have been in meeting alumni of all ages who relay their personal stories of how well the programs at DePaul prepared and served them over the course of their careers,” the dean said.