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GEAR UP Teachers Working

We believe that professional growth is a lifelong pursuit. As faculty members we model this through our involvement in professional organizations and collaborations with other professional agencies. Our faculty participate in a variety of professional affiliations by attending, supporting, and presenting at conferences at the local, state, national, and international levels.

As students progress through the program, we prepare them to engage in this process as well. Students have opportunities to work with colleagues and to provide professional development experiences through their coursework. We also invite students to present with us and with their colleagues at conferences.


The Department of Literacy Education has affiliations with other professional organizations with a variety of purposes:

  • to promote relationships between faculty members and students with other professional organizations in the field of literacy education.
  • to provide students opportunities to network with other professionals in the field of literacy education.
  • to enhance literacy instruction in the wider community.
  • to promote literacy in the wider community.
  • to support Chicago metropolitan schools in furthering literacy education.

The Department of Literacy Education is recognized by the International Reading Association as meeting all of its Standards for Reading Professionals.

Chicago public schools

We have participated in the CPS Professional Development Partners since its inception. This helps us to keep our finger on the pulse of area schools so that we are aware of the school system's literacy instructional needs and expectations for its literacy professionals.



We collaborate with the Center for College Access and Success to provide graduate coursework in literacy education to cohorts of middle-level and high school teachers from schools in the GEAR UP Alliance. While the primary focus of the GEAR UP project is to prepare middle-level and high school students for college, the project also includes professional growth opportunities for teachers. The Department of Literacy Education offers the graduate coursework to support teachers as they seek to strengthen their students’ literacy development.


chicago area reading association

The Department of Literacy Education collaborates with the local affiliate of the International Reading Association, the Chicago Area Reading Association to sponsor professional development opportunities for literacy professionals throughout the Chicago Area.  We encourage students to join professional organizations as avenues of connecting with other literacy professionals and engaging in professional growth.



Illinois reading council

Each year, the Department of Literacy Education and CARA sponsor a reception to honor our students, alumni, members, and external partners. This is a great opportunity to network with other literacy professionals!






Boundless Readers is a not-for-profit organization that provides classroom sets of books for Chicago teachers as well as teacher-centered professional growth opportunities. As a member of our Advisory Committee, Boundless Readers' founder, Rochelle Lee, had a vital impact on our curriculum development. We have collaboratively sponsored professional development events with Boundless Readers. Each year, we sponsor a table at Boundless Readers’ annual gala so that we can honor our graduate students who have been recipients of Rochelle Lee Awards. These awards are given to classroom teachers from Chicago Public Schools to purchase classroom sets of high-quality literature to provide literacy instruction that will instill a lifelong love of reading in their students.



Literacy, Leadership, and Development

Program Support Staff

Program Support Staff

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