CUEL friends and associates celebrated twenty-years of partnership between the UIC College of Education and Chicago Public Schools at an event held on April 13, 2023.  The celebration focused particularly on the twenty years of UIC/CPS partnership in school leadership preparation and the more recently initiated Research-Practice Partnership between CPS and the Center for Urban Education Leadership (CUEL).    The gathering coincided with the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the world’s largest educational research organization, which was held in Chicago this year.  

The program began with remarks by the Dean of the College of Education, Kathryn Chval.  Dr. Chval noted the unique sustainability of the partnership with CPS, highlighting essential characteristics such as, “Its Purpose, A Vision for Its Potential, A Passion for this City, and most importantly, the People associated with it.”  Chval acknowledged Professor Emeritus Steve Tozer and retired Clinical Professor Peter Martinez who co-founded the EdD in Urban Education Leadership, and noted Tozer’s contributions to three recently published books on improving schools and leadership.  Dr. Shelby Cosner, Professor and CUEL Director, spoke about the history of UIC/CPS collaboration, its recognition as a national model in school leadership preparation, and its influence on policy in Illinois. Cosner elaborated on the more recent Research Practice Partnership between CUEL and CPS, designed to impact CPS’ Five-Year Strategic Vision and its ambitious equity-centered goals. 

Dr. Cynthia Barron, Clinical Assistant Professor and Ed.D. Program Coordinator, referenced our inaugural membership in the Chicago Leadership Collaborative (CLC), and pointed out the large number of EdD Program graduates -155 over the twenty-year span.  She noted that our UIC-prepared leaders now hold one of every ten principalships in CPS, and that they exceed the national average for years of retention in that position.  Finally Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez thanked UIC and CPS collaborators for their respective contributions to the 20-year partnership. Martinez remarked on his personal history as a product of CPS schools, on what he has gleaned from past successful initiatives in CPS, on promising current initiatives, and on the challenges that remain to develop equity-focused leaders for our schools. Attendees included current and former CPS administrators, faculty and staff from the College of Education as well as university administrators, national researchers and educational leaders, and members of the philanthropic community. A selection of posters and exhibits from the event may be viewed here.