Skip to content

2021 - ECC and NIU celebrate first Elementary Education Transfer Pathway graduating class

Tags: Accomplishment | Commencement
Published 05/13/2021

Elgin Community College and Northern Illinois University hosted a recognition event on May 7 on ECC’s campus to celebrate the first cohort of 15 students who completed the ECC-to-NIU College of Education transfer pathway degree. These students transitioned their two-year degree from ECC to NIU while remaining in Elgin to complete their B.S.Ed. degrees in Elementary Education with Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement from the NIU Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Leaders from both institutions now expect the new graduates will find jobs in the Elgin area, providing local districts with teachers who bring a lifelong familiarity and understanding of the community and its families. The ‘2+2’ program is designed to increase accessibility, affordability and meet and support the needs of place-bound students who otherwise may not be able to complete a four-year education degree. It also aims to address teacher shortages and supply classrooms with a culturally diverse workforce.

David Sam, Ph.D., J.D., L.L.M., president of Elgin Community College, told the new teachers that their future students will remember their names forever. “Whenever anyone asks me about people who’ve had the greatest impact on me, I mention my parents, and I mention teachers – among them my third-grade teacher, Miss Elizabeth,” Sam said. “She couldn’t imagine the impact she’s made on my life all of these years, and I know that you are going to make these lasting impacts on students. You may not see the impact on many of them, but here I am, close to 50 years later, talking about Miss Elizabeth,” he added. “Students will be saying the same things about you for generations to come.”

“Congratulations for choosing to come into the best profession in the world – being a teacher. You are the first cohort. You are trailblazers,” NIU College of Education Dean Laurie Elish-Piper told the group. “We started with 15, and 15 finished on time and will be graduating. That is just remarkable. My colleagues in higher education will tell us that, ordinarily, 100 percent retention and graduation is the goal, but oftentimes not the reality. I am so excited and impressed,” said Elish-Piper.

Twenty more Elementary Education majors are enrolled in the second cohort, and another 20 are expected to enroll this fall. By the spring of 2023, 55 new elementary school teachers are expected to have graduated from this program, most of whom are likely to teach in U-46 or nearby District 300. ECC and NIU are adding new ‘2+2’ cohorts this fall for Early Childhood Education and Special Education majors.

For more information about the ECC/NIU education programs, contact Sean Jensen, ECC director of transfer services, at (847) 214-7195 or email, or NIU College of Education Student Services at (815) 753--8352 or email

Visit the Northern Illinois College of Education webpage for more details about the May 7 event.