Western Illinois University Quad Cities (WIU) will begin offering the Early Childhood Degree in the Summer 2022 session.
WIU also announced that it will also add a new, flexible program option designed for those currently working in the education field and want to work toward their bachelor’s degree, with an option for PEL (Professional Educator License). Enrollment now is open.
All courses will be offered in flexible course formats, including online programming with in-person or live-streamed support. WIU also has established pathways for customized student teaching options for enrollees to student teach while continuing to work in the field. Prior learning experiences for coursework credit also will be considered, the university announced.
The program is designed to align with the new Early Childhood ACCESS Consortium for Equity ACT.
WIU will continue to offer a traditional path for early childhood education that includes a lab site on the Macomb campus. It also is exploring development of a lab site at the Moline campus.
Interim Provost Billy Clow said the university has been working to expand early childhood options on the Quad Cities campus. Lindsay Meeker, director of the WIU Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood Education, and Dr. Eric Sheffield, director of WIU’s School of Education, “are solidifying tremendous opportunities for students within the QC region,” he said. “This is a very exciting addition to our School of Education options in the Quad Cities.”
The Moline community is embracing WIU’s contributions, the university said. “I’m extremely pleased that our higher education institutions based in Moline are partnering to fill critical needs in our workforce and for the children of our community,” Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati said in a news release. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact of this collaboration in our community,”
“Our goal at Western is to serve the workers in the field of early childhood in a way that meets their needs,” Mr. Clow said. “There is a shortage of early childhood educators and childcare workforce in Illinois, and Western Illinois University is seeking to be a partner in workforce development, harnessing both traditional and nontraditional pathways.”