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Education Unit Head & Assistant Professor of Education
B.A., Rockford College
M.A., Rockford College
Ed.S., Northern Illinois University
Debra Dew, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of Education
B.Mus., West Virginia University
M. Ed., Salisbury State University
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Debra Dew serves as the Director of Elementary Education. In addition to securing clinical placements for students seeking elementary certification, she teaches the middle school programs class, the elementary student teaching seminar, and the field experience class. She has extensive experience as a K-12 music teacher in the Maryland Public Schools.
Dr. Dew received her BMUS from West Virginia University, her MS from Salisbury State University, and her Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University. She is a member of the Association of Teacher Educators, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and Phi Delta Kappa.
Assistant Professor of Education
B.A., Eastern Illinois University
M.Ed., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Ed.D., Northern Illinois University
Lynn StaffordAssociate Professor of Education
A.A., Harford Junior College
B.S., Townson State University
B.S., Way College of Biblical Research
M.S., Loyola College
M.S., Northern Illinois University
Professor Stafford joined the Rockford University Education Department in the Fall of 2002. She holds a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Special Education from Loyola College; Baltimore, Maryland. She serves as Special Education Director in the Education Department providing instruction on exceptional children – survey, characteristics, methods, classroom management, and diagnosis.
Professor Stafford brings to the Rockford University community 30 years of teaching expertise from regular classrooms to separate setting special education classrooms and schools. She has instructed preschoolers to adults in recreation, camps and conferences; instructional to supervisory settings. Lynn received the ‘Heart of Harlem’ award for classroom teaching in 2000 and was recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education as ‘Those Who Excel’ for classroom instruction in 2001.
Professor Stafford is a member of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Research, Service and Leadership Association and Council for Exceptional Children. She is an Illinois State Board of Education Accreditation Review Team Member for colleges and universities in Illinois. She also holds Bachelor of Science degrees in the areas of theology and physical education.
JoEllen VauseAssistant Professor of Education
B.A., Illinois State University
M.S., Northern Illinois University
JoEllen Vause, Assistant Professor and Director of Secondary Education, came to Rockford University in the spring of 1994. From 1994 through spring 2000, she served as an adjunct professor, academic advisor, and student teaching supervisor. In the fall of 2000, she became a full-time member of the Education Department.
Professor Vause received her bachelor of arts degree with a major in mathematics and a minor in Spanish from Illinois State University. Her master of science degree in educational administration was received from Northern Illinois University. She taught math at the middle school, junior high, and high school levels in both Illinois and Wisconsin.
Currently, Professor Vause teaches field experience, secondary teaching methods, secondary student teaching seminar, and middle school programs (summer). She is also a member of Phi Delta Kappa and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Assoc. Professor of Education,Visiting Lecture &1st Year Advisor
A message from the Chair…
Welcome to the Rockford University Education Department.
The Rockford University Department of Education offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in early childhood education and elementary education, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in special education. We also offer a minor in secondary education for majors in biology, chemistry, English, French, German, history, mathematics, physical education, Spanish, theatre arts, and visual arts.
The mission of the Education Department at Rockford University is to prepare prospective teachers to empower their students' minds. The Education Department also recognizes that students, schools and communities further empower its work; hence, the 360-degree nature of our slogan, "Empowered Minds Learning Together.” The accomplishments of our most distinguished graduate, Jane Addams, most notably her establishment of Hull-House, are a testimony to the benefits that empowered people enjoy in all aspects of their daily lives. Educators realize that empowerment is a concept that adds present and future quality of life to the children they teach. An empowered mind enables a student to utilize knowledge at higher levels and apply it to real-life situations. An empowered mind permits a student to successfully maneuver the path to self-actualization. An empowered mind allows a student to perceive social injustice and strive to correct inequities.
Rockford University teacher education graduates have the tools and diverse classroom experiences necessary to empower the minds of their students. They display more than a passion for working with children, a prerequisite that is desirable but not sufficient. They know the content that they teach and how to present that content in ways that diverse students can understand and apply to the world in which they live. They integrate learning and behavioral theory and appropriate technology into all aspects of instruction. They also address social issues in their classrooms through differentiating instruction for their learners, treating their students in an equitable manner, and instilling respect for diversity of all kinds in their students. Finally, through lifelong professional development, teacher education graduates refine their "entry-level” skills. They demonstrate their dedication to the profession by a willingness to reflect about instruction and a desire to be lifelong learners. As educators ourselves, the Education Department must also learn from those we work with as a form of its own professional development.
Thank you for your interest in the Rockford University education programs.
Professor Jean Harezlak
Education Unit Head