April Mustian is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education. Prior to becoming a faculty member at Illinois State University in 2010, she was licensed to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in high-poverty public school settings. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Now beginning her 12th year in the field of special education, Mustian remains committed to providing in-depth instruction that will prepare pre-service teachers and graduate students in special education to best meet the diverse needs of students with disabilities and their families. Her courses emphasize the use of data-based decision-making and its importance in informing effective teaching practices, and she is the co-principal investigator for the Illinois State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) External Evaluation contract. In this role, she is charged with evaluating Illinois’ ability to scale up implementation of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), commonly known as response to intervention (RtI), statewide. Mustian’s particular passion lies in providing pre-service teachers with knowledge, competence, and opportunities that will allow them to intervene effectively with students whose cultural, socioeconomic, and/or other experiences are different from the teachers’ own. She is involved in urban special education teacher preparation initiatives at ISU and was awarded a course redesign grant to allow this specific emphasis. Each semester, she takes her students on an urban immersion trip to Chicago to learn more about the diverse neighborhoods and the relationships that are uniquely fostered between many schools in CPS and their surrounding communities. Mustian’s teaching methods center on modeling (“practice what you preach”) effective strategies in her own college classrooms; providing students with real-life teaching scenarios and interactive cooperative learning activities; and allowing opportunities to examine and, subsequently, change pre-service teachers’ own perspectives, biases, and misconceptions, as these might stifle their abilities to promote positive interactions in their future classrooms. Mustian invests in her students’ success and works to create positive professional relationships with students that extend beyond the college classroom.
Honors and recognizes full-time, tenure or tenure-line faculty who have demonstrated excellence in service to Illinois State University and the College of Education.
This award is intended to recognize the work of a colleague in our field who provided noteworthy service to the college during the past year.
This award is intended to recognize an employee of the university not in our college who has provided outstanding service to the college during the past year.
This award is intended to recognize an employee in the college who has gone above and beyond in service to our work over the past year.
Presented to faculty and staff for excellence in advisement, civic engagement, research, service, and teaching.