SESP Adds Record Number of Undergrads

SESP Adds Record Number of Undergrads

New 2016 sesp undergraduates wildcat welcome

Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) welcomed its largest and most diverse class in history last week with Wildcat Welcome activities, dinner at Dean Penelope Peterson’s home and a variety of ice breaker-type events. 

Overall, SESP added 59 new undergraduates, 143 graduate students and three new faculty members: Marcelo Worsley, Eleanor O’Rourke and Paula Hooper. 

In her opening remarks, Dean Peterson stressed the importance of learning from mistakes, a lesson supported by research from the School’s own learning scientists. 

“You got here because you are smart,” Peterson told the new SESPians. "Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just promise you will learn from them.” 

Clad in matching purple “Class of '20” t-shirts, the students introduced themselves during their first orientation session, met the school’s five academic advisors and learned more about the specific programs. 

The five SESP undergraduate majors – called concentrations -- include human development and psychological services, learning and organization change, learning sciences, secondary teaching and social policy. 

The School also offers master’s degrees in education (teaching), learning sciences, learning and organizational change and higher education administration and policy. 

“What I love about SESP is that I’m not only in the classroom,” peer advisor Sarah Thompson told the new students. “I’m able to take what I learn in class and apply it in the real world. That’s really powerful in the way I can make my own homework and really put into practice what I’m learning."

At Dean Peterson’s home, the students enjoyed a picnic dinner and met several faculty members, including Shirin Vossoughi, Worsley, O’Rourke, Jill Gerber, Mindy Douthit, Jolie Matthews, Eva Lam and Jeannette Colyvas, who also serves as the director of undergraduate education.

Here’s how SESP breaks down for the 2016-17 year: 

New faculty
Both O’Rourke, an assistant professor in computing sciences and learning sciences, and Worsley also hold appointments in the department of electrical engineering and computer science at the McCormick School of Engineering.  Paula Hooper is an assistant professor of instruction who will teach in the MSEd program.

New adjunct faculty members at the undergraduate level include Scott Ogawa and Deborah Fletcher. 

Undergraduates
The class of 2020 includes of 54 freshman and four transfer students. Of the 59 new students, 11 human development and psychological services, 12 learning and organizational change, 23 are majoring in social policy, 10 are majoring in secondary teaching and three have joined the new undergraduate learning sciences major. 

Ten student leaders were selected as SESP peer advisors for the 2016-17 school year: Sarah Thompson (returning), Shaleila Louis (returning), David Hong (returning), Karli Goldenberg, Meredith Falk, Isabel Hoffman, Jamil Mirabito, Diane Arthur (returning), Ruthie Charendoff and Kevin Corkran. Ben Hwang is the SESP representative to the Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors. 

Graduate students
Overall, 143 new graduate students have joined SESP. “You’re entering a wonderful time when you have the opportunity to just learn over the next five years and that’s what we want you to do,” Peterson told new doctoral students. “We want you to learn, to grow, and to become a budding scholar in your field.” 

Human Development and Social Policy
The Human Development and Social Policy (HDSP) doctoral program welcomed seven new doctoral students this fall: Naomi Blaushild, Sarah Collier, Ayah Kamel, Heather McCambly, Julissa Muniz, Jacquelyn Stephens and Cora Wigger. Their research interests range from educational equity and student trauma to friendship and the historical impacts of bussing. 

The HDSP program strongly advocates interdisciplinary research and collaboration, Peterson told the doctoral students. “We really believe the problems we work on are too difficult for any one method to solve,” Peterson said. “You’ll be strategically well-positioned when you leave because most research requires teams. When you have advisors with different disciplines, you’re ambidextrous.” 

Learning Sciences
Nine new students joined the Learning Sciences graduate program; four will be pursing their master’s degrees; five are seeking PhD’s. For the first time this year, learning sciences also offers and undergraduate program. (six students).

Master of Science in Education

The Master of Science in Education (MSEd) program enrolled 70 new students this fall; 25 will focus on secondary teaching and 11 on elementary teaching. Seven students are pursuing the teacher leadership curriculum, and 27 have enrolled in the new certificate program for advanced study in instructional coaching.

Higher Education
The Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy (MSHE) program accepted 34 new students — 20 full-time and 14 part-time — who are interested in various areas of higher education administration, from study abroad and admissions to college access, change management, academic advising, residence life and career services.

Incoming students represent 12 states and three countries; some students come directly from undergraduate programs while others have had work experiences in fields such as business and law. 

Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change (MSLOC)
Of the 23 new students in the MSLOC program this fall, 16 are part-timers. The new students come from diverse professional backgrounds, both corporate and not-for-profit, and from locations coast to coast. Many students who live outside the Chicago area are earning their degrees through an alternative schedule option, which combines distance learning with on-campus class meetings. MSLOC has five new non-resident students pursuing the alternative schedule format, hailing from Texas, Washington D.C., Virginia, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Also among the new students are 17 residents of Illinois, including one international student who has relocated from Japan.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 9/20/16