College of Education receives honor for childhood education

This article was edited on August 28 at 9:24 a.m.

The College of Education became one of only six institutions ever to receive the Certificate of Distinction in May, the highest honor granted by the International Reading Association, a professor in the college said.

Cathy Block, an education professor, said the university was recognized as having an outstanding reading preparation program that helps its students excel above others in teaching early childhood through grade six education majors how to be more effective reading teachers.

Rachel Gleitman, a sophomore early childhood education major, said this distinction could help benefit students in the future when seeking careers in education.

“If anything, I think it will help my resume stand out among others who are also applying at the same time,” Gleitman said.

Jan Lacina, an associate professor in the College of Education, said the distinction, which will last through 2016, will help bring recognition to the College of Education and the strength of the reading preparation program at the university.

“All of our graduates in the early childhood through sixth grade program … with their diploma will receive a certificate as well to say that they are a graduate of a program that is honored as a Certificate of Distinction,” Lacina said.

Block said this hard work and dedication is part of what sets the university’s education program apart.

“We tailor our program to meet individual student needs,” Block said.

Gleitman said the teaching style of early childhood education classes at the university was beneficial in preparing students for careers in early childhood education.

“I think it’s great because it’s focusing on how to go back to the basics,” Gleitman said. “This reminds us to go back and look at the problems the way a child would look at them, placing ourselves in their shoes.”

According to Block, who served on the board of directors of the IRA in 2005, the association looks at factors like curriculum, as well as others, to help determine which schools to award with its top honors.

The IRA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the quality of reading instruction and promote literacy around the world, according to its Web site.

The organization offers assistance and resources to education professionals and institutions, according to the Web site.

The IRA’s Certificate of Distinction, an award universities can apply for, recognizes programs that consistently have a strong program for reading teachers, according to the Web site.

In order to receive this prestigious award, the university had to meet five standards set by the IRA, Lacina said.

“It brings our college into the national forefront, and even internationally,” Lacina said. “It gives our college publicity.”