Western Illinois University will offer an Early Childhood Degree on the Quad Cities campus in Moline, beginning Summer 2022.
WIU will also launch a new, flexible program option designed for those who are currently working in the education field and want to work toward their bachelor’s degree, with an option for PEL (Professional Educator License), according to a university release. Enrollment is open now at wiu.edu/apply.
All courses will be offered in flexible course formats, including online programming with in-person or live-streamed support. WIU has also established pathways for customized student teaching options for incumbent workers to student teach while continuing to work in the field, and Western will be considering prior learning experiences for coursework credit. This program is designed to align with the state’s new Early Childhood ACCESS Consortium for Equity Act.
“We have been working to expand Early Childhood options on our Quad Cities campus for some time now,” Interim Provost Billy Clow said in the WIU release. Dr. Lindsay Meeker, director for the WIU Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood Education, and Dr. Eric Sheffield, director of our School of Education, are solidifying tremendous opportunities for students within the QC region, Clow said.
“This is a very exciting addition to our School of Education options in the Quad Cities,” he said.
Western will continue to offer a traditional pathway for early childhood education, with the bonus of a lab site on the Macomb campus and current exploration to develop a lab site on the QC campus.
“Our goal at Western is to serve the workers in the field of early childhood in a way that meets their needs,” said Meeker. “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.”
The Moline community is embracing Western’s contributions.
“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,” said Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact of this collaboration in our community.”