NEIU's flying N logo adorns the entrance to the Admissions Office

Monday, February 10, 2020

GradReports, an online resource that matches students to graduate programs, named Northeastern Illinois University’s Educational Leadership program the best in the state and 20th overall in the nation on its list of 2020 Best Colleges.

“The Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education offers this rigorous master’s degree program to students who are serious about making a difference as school administrators,” said Howard Bultinck, chair of the Department of Literacy, Leadership and Development. “This program focuses on doing what’s best for students as well as job acquisition, and I could not be prouder of this accomplishment that recognizes our graduates’ hard work and dedication both before and after attainment of their degrees.”

Northeastern’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership provides a Principal Endorsement from the State of Illinois upon graduation that covers principal, assistant principal and all related positions.

While Northeastern’s program dates back decades, it was overhauled about 10 years ago when the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) created specific requirements to earn a Principal Endorsement. The process of writing a new program took two years, and resulted in a perfect score on the 186-item, 41-page ISBE rubric.

“This new national recognition represents a decade of work by numerous people—work that continues to this day,” said Bultinck, who wrote an article for the January/February 2013 issue of the Illinois School Board Journal that explained the state of affairs with the Principal Endorsement. “Credit goes to the professors and instructors—some of whom have now retired—and the partnership board that has been with us every step of the way.”

Among the ISBE requirements was the creation of a partnership board to co-author, co-implement and co-evaluate the program. Created in 2010, the board has diverse representation from:

  • Hawthorne School District 73, Vernon Hills
  • Lake County Intermediate Service Center/Lake County Regional Office of Education
  • North Cook Intermediate Service Center/Cook County Suburban Regional Office of Education
  • Rush Neuro Behavioral Center
  • Skokie/Morton Grove School District 69
  • The Joseph Sears School, Kenilworth
  • Waukegan Community Unit District 60

In 2016, the program earned special mention and accolades from the Illinois Education Research Council (IERC) for the “partnership board” component of the program as well as from the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP) during its accreditation visit last month.

GradReports’ rankings are based on data published by the U.S. Department of Education, and schools are ranked in descending order of their graduates' median salary.

The GradReport ranking is the latest of a string of positive national rankings for Northeastern since the start of the academic year. Other rankings include:

  • For the fourth year in a row, The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking listed Northeastern No. 1 in the category of Environment among all Midwest colleges and universities. Nationally, Northeastern is tied for 19th.
  • U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” publication ranked Northeastern first for graduating its students with the least amount of student debt among Midwest regional universities. Among Midwest regional universities, the report also listed Northeastern as the No. 1 public university in its diverse student population ranking and the No. 1 Illinois public university in its social mobility ranking.
  • LendEDU ranked Northeastern first among all four-year public and private institutions of higher learning in Illinois for graduating students with the lowest student loan debt. Northeastern ranked 27th among all four-year colleges and universities in the country, and 13th among all four-year public institutions.
  • ranked Northeastern seventh in the nation and first in Illinois in a new report on colleges and universities with the lowest rates of property crime and violence associated with property crime.
  • Washington Monthly magazine ranked Northeastern first in Illinois and 34th among four-year universities nationwide on its list of Best Colleges for Adult Learners.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked Northeastern second in the nation among four-year public institutions for diversity among managers.