UNI president moderates congressional briefing on educator preparation
The “Strengthening Educator Preparation: Addressing Needs and Exploring Innovative Solutions” congressional briefing organized by AACTE, University of Northern Iowa (UNI), and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), took place on Tuesday, July 18, on Capitol Hill. The briefing brought together a group of university presidents and deans, all AACTE members, from around the country for a candid conversation on issues impacting educator preparation and innovative solutions.
The issue summary provided to briefing participants stated, “the educational profession is in crisis.” The summary outlined the following four legislative actions necessary to address the crisis:
- Removing financial barriers to entering the education profession
- Updating and expanding the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program
- Reauthorizing the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program
- Increasing Capacity of Educator Preparation Programs
The briefing included a welcome by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) showing bipartisan support for educators and educator preparation. Panelists included:
- Mark Nook, President, University of Northern Iowa (panel moderator)
- Prentice Chandler, Dean, Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay State University
- Leslie T. Fenwick, Dean in Residence, AACTE
- Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, Founding President of PennWest University
- Nicole Thompson, Vice Dean, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University
In closing remarks by AACTE’s President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, she noted that “our nation is indeed at risk, without a professional core of educators. However, the responses and solutions that each panelist described to create greater capacity to build the educator workforce noted innovations and solutions such as apprenticeships/grow your own programs that began at Austin Peay State University, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University Next Education Workforce initiative, and the meaningful mergers inside the Pennsylvania State College System to support community-based colleges fueling the teacher workforces in their regions.”
The briefing closed with a Q & A that noted the critical partnerships between federal, state, and local governments, alongside higher education institutions, to strengthen educator preparation to grow the nation’s education workforce.