M Cecil Smith

July 22, 2021

SIU’s School of Education dean chosen for elite national fellowship

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — M Cecil Smith, dean of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Education, has been selected as an Impact Academy fellow for the coming year by Deans for Impact. He is one of just 24 educational leaders chosen from around the country to collaborate on ways to positively transform teacher preparation programs.

“I am excited to participate in, and quite honored to have been selected for, the Impact Academy Fellowship Program,” Smith said. “The program presents a great opportunity to further develop my skills as a School of Education leader, to collaborate with and learn from fellow deans, and to be guided and coached by nationally recognized academic administrators. The fellowship program is particularly valuable because of its focus on helping deans identify, describe, create and carry out plans that address challenging problems in teacher education.”

Networking to address challenges

Deans for Impact is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2015 to ensure well-prepared teachers instruct all children. The group brings together teacher preparation program leaders to collaborate and transform programs and policy to help achieve that goal.  

Smith is part of the academy’s largest and most diverse fellows group, which includes members from 17 states representing diverse public and private universities. These institutions serve more than 10,000 future teachers each year. The fellows will network, collaborate and work to create strategies for improving instruction with a focus on equity and learning science.

Throughout the coming year, Smith and his colleagues will participate in monthly virtual meetings that include collaborative learning and individualized sessions featuring learning modules and leadership coaching from other Deans for Impact members.