To provide our students with an advantage in the job market and also address this shortage of high-quality special education teachers, the Department of Special Education at Illinois State University has partnered with the Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline™ (CTEP) to develop INFUSE (Innovative Network of Urban Special Educators), an urban-focused course sequence beginning in the freshman year for SED majors. INFUSE was created to address the need for high-quality special education teachers in urban areas in Illinois, with specific emphasis on preparing future urban special educators to teach in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
As one of the first of its kind in the U.S., this specialized sequence systematically fuses urban education and special education preparation together at the undergraduate level. Upon completion, students enrolling in INFUSE will demonstrate a commitment to teach in urban areas, specifically for CPS. INFUSE redesigned core courses critically examine social issues surrounding disability, including: Disproportionality in special education and disciplinary practices, Cultural views of disability, Culturally and linguistically appropriate pedagogy and evidence- and research-based practices, Meaningful inclusion of families and communities in the education of children in urban settings. In addition to redesigned courses, students involved in INFUSE take part in meaningfully layered immersion experiences in Chicago. Students will observe instruction in classrooms, interact with students and staff, engage in meaningful dialogue with local community organizations, take part in service-learning activities, and experience the linkage between strong community partnerships and successful urban schools. Further, LBS students involved in INFUSE have the opportunity to complete both field-base and student teaching semesters in Chicago Public Schools. This enables student to complete a full-year clinical across two separate CPS school sites. Students in DHH and LVB programs may choose to student teach in CPS as well!
For more information about INFUSE, contact Dr. April L. Mustian, Faculty Liaison and Coordinator, (309) 438-5752.