Campus / News / October 4, 2013

Educational Studies Department losing two full-time professors

The Educational Studies Department will be down two professors, one tenured and one tenure-track, by the end of the year, but only one vacancy will be replaced through a national search process.

Just before the start of fall term, then-department chair Jason Helfer took a position with the Illinois State Board of Education as its new Assistant Superintendent for Teacher and Leader Effectiveness.

Additionally, Assistant Professor Kelton Williams will be stepping down from his position at the end of the academic year to live with his wife in Washington, D.C. Williams’ position will be filled through a national search process, the standard procedure for vacated tenure-track positions.

But according to new co-chair Stephen Schroth, that will not be the case for Helfer’s position. Schroth told TKS that Helfer is technically on a leave of absence, and there is no word yet on a search.

Dean of the College Laura Behling, who deals with faculty personnel considerations, declined to comment on Helfer’s specific case and said there is “no indication one direction or the other that there will be a search.”

Emails requesting comment from Helfer were not returned, along with multiple calls to his ISBE office.

Helfer is no longer listed on the educational studies faculty page of the Knox website.

Despite these changes, Schroth is confident that students’ experience in the department will not be affected, and majors will still be able to graduate in four years.

Schroth said with some rearranged faculty schedules and more reliance on lecturers, the department was able to maintain the normal level of course offerings. He and other remaining faculty are taking on Helfer’s administrative duties, such as reports for state certifications and field placements for students.

Behling believes students will not be worse off with expanded roles for lecturers, as opposed to more faculty with terminal degrees.

“I think all the faculty we hire to teach at Knox … are very good and obviously qualified, otherwise we wouldn’t hire them,” she said.

Tags:  Educational Studies Illinois State Board of Education Jason Helfer Kelton Williams Knox College

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Charlie Megenity
Charlie Megenity (formerly Gorney) is a senior double majoring in political science and economics. He previously served TKS as managing editor and as co-news editor while working as the weekend reporter for The Galesburg Register-Mail. Over the summer of 2012, Charlie interned in Wisconsin with, an online hyperlocal news source, where he covered the August 2012 Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting; he will return to Patch during the summer of 2013. He is also the journalism editor for Catch magazine.. Charlie has received three awards from the Illinois College Press Association for newswriting and design, including a first place award for front page layout. He was the 2013 recipient of the Theodore Hazen Kimble Memorial Award in Journalism for a feature story published in The Knox Student. His work has also appeared in The Huffington Post.

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