MS in Education Program Celebrates 30th Anniversary with ‘Birthday Bash’

MS in Education Program Celebrates 30th Anniversary with ‘Birthday Bash’

Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon

More than 60 people gathered on June 26 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Master of Science in Education program, which had its first graduates in 1983. Highlights of the event included a panel of alumni telling their stories, a review of the program’s history by Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon, director for the past 22 years, and the introduction of the new director of teacher education, Tim Dohrer.    

“These teacher leaders are highly successful in the field of education,” said Haroutunian-Gordon of the alumni panelists:

  • Rene Luis Alvarez (MS97) is a faculty member Northeastern Illinois University.
  • Carrie Jenkins Kamm (MS98) mentors teachers through the Academy for Urban School Leadership.
  • Dan Montgomery (MS93) is president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
  • Mike Nekritz (MS92) is a school consultant.
MSEd anniversary
  • Chicago principal Joel Pollack (MS06) led a Chicago turnaround school.
  • Dilara Sayeed (MS00) founded the Global Teacher Project as a doctoral student at Harvard University.
  • Cyndi Knodle Smith (MS95) is an international editor in publishing.
  • Emily Selden (MS08) is a college admissions counselor.
  • Lindsey Snyder (MS09) is a museum educator.

Since the MSEd program started in 1982-83, it has grown rapidly, and its concentrations have evolved strategically. While in 1983 there were only two graduates, now MSEd has 1,641 alumni. The program’s newest concentration is the teacher leadership concentration, launched in 2012. Elementary and secondary teaching concentrations have remained over the years, other concentrations have spun off to become independent degree programs in SESP, such as the Master of Science and Learning and Organizational Change Program and the Higher Education Administration and Policy Program.

MSEd Anniversary

As Haroutunian-Gordon reflected on the past 30 years of the MSEd program, she noted that the program’s core strength is its conceptual framework with its guiding principles. “It’s a consistent, coherent program because it is grounded in these concepts,” she says. “The conceptual framework has had an enormous impact on the character of the program.”

The framework’s vision of learning and teaching emphasizes reflection and research as a means of learning, authentic experience, and learning as a social practice. These three principles led to the establishment of the signature three-course master’s research project sequence, beginning in 2001-02, and the Urban/Suburban Consortium, starting in 1996.

Dohrer, who assumes directorship of the teacher education program this summer, has taught middle school, high school and college students in rural, urban and suburban settings and served as a long-term New Trier administrator and teacher. For eight years, he also taught classes in the MSEd program. He has a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from Pennsylvania State University.

Photo caption: (Top) MSEd director Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon cuts a cake for the MSEd program’s 30th birthday. (Middle) SESP dean Penelope Peterson talks with incoming MSEd director Tim Dohrer and MSEd faculty member Miriam Sherin. (Bottom) Panelists discuss their diverse experiences as MSEd alumni.  

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/9/13