NEIU College of Education welcomes new dean


Laura Rojas

Sandra Beyda-Lorie brings her experience and various degrees in special education to her new post as dean of the College of Education.

Laura Rojas, Writer

Dr. Sandra Beyda-Lorie, formerly interim dean of the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education at NEIU, has been officially appointed dean of students as of Jan. 1.

Beyda has been with NEIU for 19 years, previously as a professor primarily dealing with special education teachers. She served as department chair for the Department of Special Education since 2008.

“I was honored to be asked to be the interim dean and I had a great deal of respect for Dean Gillette and a wonderful working relationship with her,” Beyda-Lorie said. “She did an amazing job of helping set the mission of our college — [which] is professional practitioners collaborative and transformative — I think I’m carrying forth that mission.”

Maureen Gillette was Beyda-Lorie’s predecessor and she said she hopes to continue the work Gillette already executed, as well as implement new programs and changes to the College of Education.

Beyda-Lorie wants to stress that the COE at NEIU caters to more than just teacher and principal preparation.

“We think of education more broadly,” Beyda-Lorie said. “For instance our Human Resource Development Program that trains professionals in businesses and organizations builds upon our excellent reputation in professional preparation.”

There are also a couple programs she is excited to be launching out of the COE, which are the Masters of Public Health Program and the Resident Nursing to the Bachelor of Science and Nursing Program.

Beyda-Lorie explained that as dean the administrative duties are at an all-time high due to the upcoming reaccreditation of the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education. The COE will undergo an in-person visit in 2018 and a sooner online visit this year to look over the college’s records for reaccreditation.

Some other changes that Beyda-Lorie is determined to bring within the COE since becoming dean is the implementation of new evaluation tools for graduating students, since

She said that the current evaluation tools have become inefficient. .

“It was not giving us the detailed information that we needed, particularly the candidates’ needed, for feedback,” Beyda-Lorie said.

Beyda-Lorie explained that the previous instrument for teacher evaluation might score a student two out of four in a particular area but this did not help predict future success or needs of improvement; it only simply evaluated work thus far.

“The new instrument will have the validity and reliability that our old instrument did not have,” Beyda-Lorie said.

The new one being implemented, the Charlotte Danielson framework, is a previously developed tool that will be reformatted for the university’s purposes. It is already being used to evaluate teachers in the field today, explained Beyda-Lorie, therefore the results will transfer over far more efficiently. She believes this will lead to the university having a better screening process for its graduating teachers ready to go into the field.

Beyda-Lorie has also been involved with other projects in the NEIU community, even before she became dean. She helped establish a night program for undergraduates at NEIU’s El Centro campus and is also involved with the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children, which advocates for children with special needs in public school systems throughout Illinois.

Now as dean, Beyda-Lorie no longer has the opportunity to teach classes at NEIU as a professor. Even when she became department chair in 2008, she had to relinquish most of her classes.

“When you become a chair you drop down to one class a semester only because the administrative responsibilities demand so much time,” Beyda-Lorie said. “The fade out from teaching is a bittersweet experience.”

Beyda-Lorie described her publication record as modest due to her work duties as an administrator. In her spare time she has been writing a children’s novel. She said she is excited about whether she will attempt to get the piece published or not.

“I needed to get my voice out there,” Beyda-Lorie said.

The book is about a student whose parents are undocumented and the child may be suffering from an undiagnosed learning disability, he or she doesn’t fit the “college ready standard” but is a very creative kid. “The topic spoke to my heart,” Beyda-Lorie said.

Beyda-Lorie feels as a dean that there is a lot of work to be done and the COE has to push through for the reaccreditation since the standards have become more rigorous since the last evaluation.

“Everyone in the college has been so supportive and helpful,” Beyda-Lorie said. “I really have the sense that we’re all in it together.”

Beyda-Lorie also spoke about what NEIU means to her and how she feels the university will do with its current budget struggles.

“I have very strong feelings for Northeastern Illinois University. I find that there’s a certain sacred space here that comes from our humanity,” Beyda-Lorie said. “I think of Northeastern as the ‘everyman’— someone we can all relate to who has overcome extraordinary circumstances — Northeastern Illinois University welcomes the everyman.”

Beyda-Lorie said that there is a plus side and a downside when considering that NEIU is still experiencing a budget crisis.

“Yes, we have fewer resources to spend the way that our students really deserve,” Beyda-Lorie said. “The plus side of it is when you are forced by constraints to make work only what you have available to you, that’s where the innovation comes from.”