An Illinois State University faculty member is being honored as the state's top college professor. Gary Creasey, Assistant Director of ISU's TEACHER+PLUS program, is the top professor in Illinois as judged by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. ISU's TEACHER+PLUS helps generate teachers for urban areas. Creasey says it requires several bus trips by Education students to innercity Chicago.
"We really demand our students to garner direct experiences of visiting urban schools, teaching in urban schools, living in urban neighborhoods."
Creasey says, during a trip this week with 50 freshmen, one student's experience underscored a major roadblock the program seeks to overcome.
"She said her mother had been texting her every ten minutes to make sure she was okay. They're thinking gangs, and violence and drugs. When we talk to our students, their only experience with the city is Michigan Avenue or Soldier Field."
Creasey says most students in the Education program at ISU come from suburban or rural areas. He says his goal is to help provide students with better cultural context. Creasy is a psychology professor, which he says is a tremendous aid in his work.
"What drew me into all this is I think there's a real psychology to becoming an urban teacher."
Creasey recieved his honor during a ceremony in Washington DC last night. Carnegie-CASE honored one professor from each state. In 2009, ISU Chemistry Professor Greg Ferrence recieved the same honor.
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