Update about our Teacher Education program redesign process
This letter was released on October 16, 2020.
Dear School of Education Community,
I am writing with an update about our recent proposal to suspend
admissions to the Teacher Education program for one year to give
our faculty the time required for a significant program redesign.
While still convinced that a major redesign is necessary, we have
listened to faculty, staff, and community input and have decided
to slow down our process. Accordingly, I will not be putting this
question to a faculty vote at this time. Instead, we will engage
in a deliberative and collaborative process for deciding if
admissions need to be suspended during the redesign process, or
if there are satisfactory alternative approaches. Admissions will
stay open, and we will welcome our next cohort of credential
students in summer 2021.
We remain committed to a thoughtful redesign centered on
justice and equity. A teacher preparation program must
be responsive to constantly evolving educational priorities and
must model the continuous improvement process that we instill in
our own students. We have received input through course
evaluations, end-of-year surveys, student town halls, and focus
group interviews telling us that we need to update both our
coursework and program design to reflect significant changes in
public school systems. Our program must create opportunities for
prospective teachers to effectively engage with the current
climate, including by addressing systemic racism; meeting the
needs of LGBTQ students, bilingual students, and students with
disabilities; and using digital tools to promote learning.
We are going to take time now to reflect and
connect. We realize that quickly putting forward our
proposal to School of Education faculty failed to allow
sufficient dialogue and consideration about the best approach. We
realize that this caused concern for our colleagues, and we
apologize. We expect to take the next several months seeking
advice from our faculty, students, district partners, and other
stakeholders about the best way to move forward. We will post
this letter on our website and share periodic updates to keep
members of the School community and the public informed about our
process and timeline.
We are heartened by the community support for our
work. The outpouring of support for our Teacher
Education program has been overwhelming. We have heard from
hundreds of concerned community members, and their affirmation of
the value, reach, and impact of this program is inspiring. Some
of that response was driven by misunderstanding, such as fear
that the program might be permanently shut down, which was never
under consideration. But all of it demonstrated a passion and
appreciation not only for our program, but also for teaching and
teachers, for students and schools, and for the transformative
role of education. It is a passion that I share. I trust that our
common values and goals will help us create the best possible
teacher education program.
Again, thank you for reaching out and providing input on this
important decision for the School of Education.