Illinois College’s Department of Education and Teacher Preparation Program has found a new home.
The Becker Center for Teacher Education is a newly renovated space next to the IC Alumni House on Mound Avenue and includes a classroom, faculty offices, and indoor and outdoor spaces for student engagement.
The Center for Teacher Education is named in honor of IC alumni Joy French Becker
who grew up in what is today the Alumni House. In 2020 she made a gift to the College paving the way for IC to purchase the home next door.
Jaime Klein, assistant professor of education and chair of the department says the former residence that now houses the Education Department, is a perfect setting for attracting and educating future educators.
“One of the things that we have always felt was important is that the space that we occupied as a teacher preparation program needed to be welcoming and inviting, and one that would attract future students, but also make our current students feel like the environment was right for learning. That’s something we try to teach our students, making their classroom a place that kids feel comfortable. We wanted that to be what happened in our space too.”
Klein says having its own space is really important for the Education Department in that it gives the program the ability to build its own community.
“Teachers are…you know, they need each other. That’s part of the role of being a teacher is you need to be able to collaborate with each other. That’s kind of what we want to build. That feeling of we are part of a group that has a common purpose.
So we really do want our space to become that purpose and when prospective students come and we want them to see that this is a place where people feel like they belong.”
Klein says now more than ever, the importance of state-of-the-art technology and
modern learning environments in K-12 is clear, and the Becker Center will give the
education department the space, tools, and resources to inspire student achievement and support the regional economic need for more teachers.
She says the department is especially thankful to Joy French Becker for her work and inspiration for the center. Becker served as an Illinois College Trustee from 1994 to
2017, including a decade-long tenure as Chair of the Board. She continues to serve as an Emerita Trustee.
Klein says it is especially fitting for the center to be named after Becker, as she was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Board, and the dedication makes the Becker Center the first building on the IC campus solely named in honor of a woman.