Dean Figlio Welcomes SESP's Newest Leaders

Dean Figlio Welcomes SESP's Newest Leaders

Class of 22Resist the urge to plan out the next few years – and for that matter, your life – Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) Dean David Figlio said Monday, as he welcomed first-year and transfer students to Annenberg Hall.

“It matters less what courses you take and more what you take out of those courses,” Figlio said during Wildcat Welcome, Northwestern's weeklong orientation for all new students. “We’re here to help you nurture your passions and hone your critical thinking skills, your ability to evaluate evidence, and your ability to communicate to a variety of audiences in a range of different ways.”

It was the first – and likely last – time the entire Class of ‘22 assembled inside a single Annenberg Hall classroom. SESP’s student body triples from the first year to senior year as word spreads about the tight-knit community, the innovative classes and programs, and the School’s devoted academic advisers, faculty, and staff.

Overall, 72 first-year students from across the U.S. and the world -- including 13 who transferred from other schools -- joined the SESP family in September. The class includes Daniel Rodriguez, who graduated from Northwestern Academy; Joanne Lee, the fifth member of her family to attend SESP; and eight students who participated in the SESP Leadership Institute (SLI), an intensive two-week, academic program designed to support incoming Wildcats.

“We expect a lot from you, but we’re here to nurture the leader you’re becoming,” Figlio said.

During orientation events and activities, the students toured Annenberg Hall, connected with classmates, visited Six Flags Great America -- the class of '22 had the theme park to themselves -- explored their new home and school environments, and received a healthy dose of purple pride. They also met with their academic and peer advisers, discussed registration and transition issues, and learned more about the individual programs.

The five SESP undergraduate majors – called concentrations -- include human development and psychological services, learning and organizational 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. Doctoral programs include learning sciences, human development and social policy, and a new joint computer sciences/learning sciences program that welcomed its second cohort of students in 2018.

In his dean’s address, Figlio reflected on his own experiences as a college freshman, an educator, and a parent of three college-aged children. He also spoke of the legacy and influence of SESP alumna and longtime public school teacher and principal Lorraine Morton (MS42), who recently passed away at age 99.

Morton, Evanston’s first African-American mayor, served four terms – until she was 90. Throughout her life, she gracefully navigated the societal constructs of Jim Crow, desegregation and governmental relationships. She also helped repair the stormy relationship between the city of Evanston and Northwestern.

“You are joining a family of change agents, who like Lorraine Morton, are transforming institutions, organizations, and communities, and are changing lives for the better at both the micro and macro level,” Figlio said.


By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 9/27/18