MADISON—A recent grant will allow the University of Wisconsin System to expand its work toward improving the quality of teachers in Wisconsin and across the nation.
The UW System is one of seven universities nationally to receive a Teacher Quality Initiative grant from the State Higher Education Executive Officers, an association of chief executives who serve statewide higher education governing boards.
The grant will assist UW campuses as they study how the expertise from multiple disciplines could strengthen the education of both university-prepared teachers and their K-12 students.
“This is an opportunity for the UW System to take a greater leadership role in contributing to the knowledge base about quality teacher education,” said UW System President Katharine C. Lyall. “UW campuses will continue to explore how students can benefit when the whole university takes responsibility for teacher preparation.”
Specifically, the UW System will use the grant to actively engage arts and sciences faculty in working closely with its Schools of Education to improve teacher preparation.
The UW System will also participate in a national conference on teacher education and will collaborate on activities with other states, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“The UW System’s participation in the SHEEO initiative will contribute greatly to its success, and will make a strong contribution to the national policy discussion on the future of teacher preparation in higher education,” said Edward Crowe, senior consultant for State Partnerships at the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, and a consultant to the SHEEO project.
Following principles established by the Board of Regents in Fall 2002, each UW four-year campus has already begun to examine how campus-based programs and PK-12 partnerships can improve the quality of teacher preparation, both in Wisconsin and across the country.
Currently, each campus is working to define how “all-university responsibility” for teacher preparation fits within its unique campus mission, as well as to identify related activities in which faculty and staff might participate. The effort will also help advance PI 34, the statewide implementation of new teacher licensing standards in Wisconsin.
Further incorporating arts and sciences expertise into teacher preparation will allow campuses to build upon and add value to existing partnerships, said Francine Tompkins, UW System senior academic planner and director of PK-16 initiatives.
For example, faculty in the School of Education at UW-Madison have asked their colleagues in the College of Letters and Sciences to contribute ideas about how to improve the quality of the content taught to education students. Similarly, UW-Whitewater has assembled a team of faculty who will meet to examine and offer feedback on actual teacher work samples.
The teacher quality grant complements other UW System priorities, including the PK-16 Leadership Council, a focus on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and the use of technology.
Using the award, the UW System Office of Academic Affairs will bring in nationally recognized experts, host regional planning sessions and coordinate broad-based, multi-campus collaborations toward improving teacher education.
The UW System will make support available to all four-year UW campuses. The SHEEO Teacher Quality Initiative provides a grant of $20,000 in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation.