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January 20, 2010

Connie Fox
Connie Fox

Kinesiology professor Connie Fox named associate dean in College of Education

DeKalb, Ill. — Longtime kinesiology professor Connie Fox is the new associate dean in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University.

Fox, who had served as acting associate dean since September, replaces Carol Logan Patitu. Patitu has returned to teaching in the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education.

As associate dean, Fox is primarily responsible for curriculum leadership to enhance course and program development as well as clinical experiences and learning outcomes.

She also coordinates internal and external program reviews, assessment and accreditation activities and student services. Supervisory duties include staff in academic advisement, assessment, clinical placement and student recruitment.

“There are going to be a lot of changes in the next few years in teacher certification, and just in the way we do business as a university, and I’m ready for those challenges,” said Fox, who came to NIU in 1984.

“Any time there is a recession and people are out of work, they think they could go back to school and get prepared to become teachers. There will always be schools, and teaching is a recession-proof job. We have a lot of students coming in from a huge diverse background,” she added. “At the same time, schools are also hurting and reducing their workforce. Schools really are not recession-proof. We have a lot of students – and the potential for more – with fewer places to put them. We need to look at making crucial changes to increase the quality of our students. We also need to make plans for increasing the flexibility of our programs to compete in the global market in teacher prep.”

Fox plans to explore questions of how good assessment can guarantee a solid foundation for College of Education graduates. She also promises to take a “hard look” at enrollment management issues of retention and program completion “in a reasonable number of years.”

In the clinical office, which places students in clinical experiences and helps to train their supervising teachers, Fox will raise the involvement of faculty.

“The staff in that office do great work, and they do whatever they’re asked to do,” she said. “The piece we’re missing right now is faculty oversight. Our faculty can’t forget that they control the curriculum. I would like to see a tighter connection so the faculty can see what’s happening in schools and with our students.”

She also will ponder NIU’s mission to the “state of education.”

“We have a social mission,” Fox said. “I’ve been working with the enrollment task force that (NIU Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management) Brian Hemphill has put together, and I’m talking to our faculty about creating Themed Learning Communities in the College of Education themed around teaching diverse groups.”

Fox, who served as director of teacher education in her department, earned her doctorate in physical education with emphases in curriculum, measurement and educational administration from the University of Georgia. She also holds a master’s degree in physical education from Eastern Kentucky University and a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Wake Forest University.

In 2005, she became the first president of the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation, a group formed through the merger of the American Association for Active Lifestyle and Fitness and the American Association for Leisure and Recreation.

Her research has focused on measurement and assessment in physical education and performance standards.

“Connie is a good choice for associate dean because she has the history of the institution and of the college, and she’s always been a good colleague to work with,” Dean Lemuel W. Watson said. “She’s very sensible, she’s faculty- and student-focused and her disposition has always been one of, ‘How can I help?’ I think that makes for a very good associate dean.”

“I’m pleased that Dr. Watson felt he could come to me and ask me to step in and I am grateful for his faith that I can do this job,” Fox said. “It’s a job I enjoy and a job I think I’ll be good at. I’m truly indebted to him.”

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Media Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
Phone: (815) 753-9472
Email: mmcgowan@niu.edu