Urban Teacher Educators Honored by UChicago Graham School for Excellence in Teaching

June 25, 2012

Amy Millikan and Bill Kennedy, instructors for the University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program (UChicago UTEP), are co-recipients of the 2012 University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Studies.

Kavita Kapadia Matsko, director of the Urban Teacher Education Program, is not surprised that Millikan and Kennedy are being honored as a duo. “Bill and Amy collaborate in the truest sense. They are not afraid to push and pull on each other’s ideas. What tends to emerge is creative, innovative, and always has students at the center. Their teaching has deeply influenced many facets of UChicago UTEP’s work.”

The Excellence in Teaching Award is based on outstanding service to the furtherance of continuing education and professional development, as well as the advancement of the vision and mission of the Graham School. It acknowledges excellence in the classroom that contributes to student learning, great program content, and superior curricular design. Students anonymously nominate instructors for this honor.

The nominating students from UChicago UTEP (a 2-year teacher certification and MA degree-granting program that offers three years of support after graduation) had much to say about Millikan and Kennedy’s ability to impart learning and empower learners:

  • “Amy Millikan goes above and beyond to ensure each of her students’ needs are met and that they fully understand.”
  • “Bill Kennedy is one of the most reflective, encouraging, empowering, and constructively critical instructors I have had throughout my college career. His ability to marry professional expertise with personal, supportive relationships with his students is exemplary...”
  • “Amy inspires her students to find the courage to become rigorous urban teachers. Ms. Millikan works ceaselessly at developing relationships with each student in order to give meaningful, relevant feedback.”
  • Bill Kennedy, with enthusiasm and by his own conviction, chooses to be more than an instructor; he is compelled to teach, in the purest sense of the word, with the humility of acknowledging that he, too, is a learner.”

Prior to joining UChicago UTEP in 2008, Kennedy worked for the New Teacher Network, which later became the Chicago New Teacher Center. From 1994 to 2005, Kennedy taught and was an assistant director in New York City Public Schools.  Milikan taught for nine years, in rural Montana and in Chicago. She also spent five years working as an educational therapist and advocate for children in Hyde Park and Kenwood schools. Millikan has been a part of the UChicago UTEP team since 2004.

Millikan and Kennedy, who have worked together for 4 years, expressed mutual admiration and appreciation. Kennedy said, “I owe part of this award to Amy, so it's great that we are co-recipients, and lots of credit goes to our staff as well.  All of our work is so intertwined that it wouldn't have been possible to receive this without collaboration within UChicago UTEP and the Urban Education Institute.” (UChicago UTEP is a unit of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute.)

Millikan concluded, “Bill’s pedagogy has made me a better teacher. I benefit so much from our collaboration and I couldn't have achieved this honor without him.  He is a true teacher!”

An award ceremony will take place on November 9, 2012 at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago.