Literacy expert named dean of College of Education

Alfred W. Tatum has been named dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education after a national search. His appointment is effective May 15, subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Alfred Tatum

Alfred Tatum, dean of the UIC College of Education. (Click on image for larger file.)

Tatum, professor of curriculum and instruction, has served as interim dean of the college since last August. One of the foremost experts on the literacy development of African American boys, he has written more than 50 publications on the topic, including three books. Recently he authored policy reports and solution briefs for Jobs for the Future and the Council of Great City Schools.

Tatum produced four major reading and writing programs used by millions of students throughout the country.  He has served for 10 years on the national reading committee for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. He was a member of the board of directors of the country’s two major literacy organizations, the International Reading Association and the Literacy Research Association.

“Alfred Tatum’s expertise as an educator and his national reputation for advancing literacy make him the ideal leader for a college that is committed to urban public education,” said UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

“I am extremely energized by this appointment. I am also humbled by the challenges that lie ahead. How we respond to these challenges will dictate our relevance as a college of meaningful consequence for the students and communities we serve,” Tatum said.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have someone of Alfred Tatum’s caliber as dean of a college that is so central to UIC’s engaged mission.  This appointment will have positive impacts on the college, the university and the entire city,” said Lon Kaufman, UIC provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

As interim dean, Tatum upgraded the college’s research support by establishing an office for research and two research clusters, and appointing the college’s first associate dean for research.

He advanced the college’s engaged scholarship by awarding 13 community engagement grants to faculty and staff.  He enhanced recruitment and retention efforts, worked to increase development and improve alumni relations, strengthened the fiscal vitality of the college, promoted greater fiscal equity among its four departments, and championed the development of online courses.

Tatum has lectured at many top universities and at the National Summit on Educational Excellence and Opportunity for African American Males, held last August in Washington by the U.S. Department of Education. The summit was part of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, which aims to ensure that all African-American students receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion and productive careers.

Before serving as interim dean, Tatum chaired the college’s department of curriculum and instruction. He was director of the UIC Reading Clinic and coordinator of the doctoral program in literacy, language, and culture.

Tatum came to UIC in 2007 after serving on the faculties of Northern Illinois University, the University of Maryland and Buffalo State College. He was senior research associate for North Central Regional Education Lab.

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