The Winston Knolls Education Group has awarded the department of special education at the College of Education at Illinois the 2019 Margaret Bancroft Distinguished Leadership Award. The award celebrates recipients’ accomplishments, professional achievements and public and civic service.
The College of Education first attracted national attention for its special education and autism research in 1952, when Samuel Kirk founded the Institute for Research on Exceptional Children at the U. of I. The special education department has been highly regarded ever since. Kirk’s research at Illinois was the first of its kind to study exceptional or special-needs learners, and it identified holes in curricula for students with learning disabilities and autism. Kirk also contributed significantly to legislation that became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Many others in the college also have contributed. The college was home for nearly 40 years to early childhood education pioneer Merle B. Karnes, who received the highest award given by the U.S. Council for Exceptional Children, the J.E. Wallace Wallin Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim Halle, an emeritus professor of special education, also has been recognized for excellence in research on individuals with communication delays and disabilities, including children with autism spectrum disorder. Jeanette McCollum, an emerita professor of special education, has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and research in early childhood special education.
U.S. News and World Report ranked the department eighth in 2017 for its graduate special education program, and second in 2015 for its undergraduate program. The department currently ranks ninth in the nation.
The Margaret Bancroft Distinguished Leadership Award will be presented at the annual Bancroft Awards Dinner on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 at the Barrington White House in Barrington, Illinois. Tickets are $85. A table of ten can be purchased for $850. Call 630-744-6020 for additional information and to purchase tickets.