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5 QUESTIONS WITH | Lynn Burdick, faculty development coordinator at University of Illinois

5 questions with ... Lynn Burdick, faculty development coordinator at the University of Illinois

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Lynn Burdick headshot

Name: Lynn Burdick

Occupation: Faculty development coordinator at the University of Illinois

Age: 60 

City of residence: Decatur

What are your duties as the faculty development coordinator at the University of Illinois?

I have several roles in the College of Education. My main duties are in the elementary education teacher preparation program. I help prepare students to become teachers. That involves making sure our program meets state requirements for licensure, helping faculty and students integrate technology into teaching and learning, and helping students navigate the edTPA, the state performance assessment for licensure. During some semesters I get to teach courses, which I love. We always joke that my job description is essentially, "other duties, as assigned."

As you commute to work every day from your home in Decatur, do you have any secrets to share about how to get through the long car rides? 

For a while I had someone share the commute. That was great, but because I work with students who often aren't free to meet until after 4 p.m. and I often have night classes, my schedule is too inconsistent now to carpool. I use the commute time to organize my thoughts/plans for the day and to unwind on the ride back. I listen to the news and to podcasts or music. The trick is to keep alert but not distracted. It's a pretty straight road between Decatur and Champaign. I wonder if I will still be making the commute when there are self-driving cars available to someone like me.

How did you come to have this job as a career?

I was the technology coordinator in Illiopolis when technology was just starting to become available to teachers in classrooms, and I found a big barrier was training. If schools had access to technology, but teachers didn't know how to use and integrate it effectively, it couldn't help students learn. A position opened up at U of I on a federal grant called "Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology" (PT3); I applied and got the job. After the grant ended, I stayed with the university, always keeping my hands in technology, but expanding into the preparation of teachers.

What has made you choose to remain living in Decatur, despite having a career in Champaign?

We have lived in Decatur for 32 years. Before I started working in Champaign we had established a very happy life here. My husband, Dave, teaches at Millikin. We have a home that has always been home to our kids and walking distance from a beautiful park. The kids were in schools they loved and were involved in theater and dance programs through the Decatur Park District. We have long-time friends here. There really was never a question about Decatur. I just jump in the car five days a week.

What are some of your favorite hobbies or activities you like to do in your free time?

I am currently a PhD student in special education while working full-time, so I don't really remember what free time is. When I can grab some free moments, anything I can do with my family is my favorite thing to do. I also want to get back to the thousands of pictures I have waiting to be put into scrapbooks. I love scrapbooking, and, even more, I love watching my grown children look at the scrapbooks I've completed. That's how I know it's a good hobby!

A look at previous Herald & Review '5 Questions'

Contact Garrett Karsten at (217) 421-6949. Follow him on Twitter: @GarrettKarsten


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