UNI and AASCU lead national effort on educator preparation

The University of Northern Iowa is stepping up to take a leading national role in education policy.

In September, the UNI and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), a leading national higher education association based in Washington, D.C., released a comprehensive policy framework to revitalize the federal government’s role in educator preparation. The UNI-AASCU collaboration has been named the Project to Revitalize the Educator Preparation in America, or PREP America, in recognition of the need to develop new, meaningful solutions to longstanding challenges confronting America’s educators.

“We are proud to partner with AASCU to develop solutions to teacher shortages across our nation. With our leadership role in educator preparation in Iowa and beyond, UNI is uniquely positioned to convene key partners to support the growth, retention, and mentorship of educators on a national scale,” said Mark A. Nook, UNI president.

Beginning this summer, UNI and AASCU convened educators, higher education leaders and governmental relations professionals from Iowa’s public universities and across the United States to re-evaluate the federal government’s role in educator preparation. Focused on tackling the problems of educator shortages, high educator burnout and attainment gaps in critical subject areas for K-12 learners, the convening participants developed a comprehensive set of policy proposals to help address longstanding challenges and opportunities facing America’s educators and schools.

UNI and AASCU have proposed the PREP America federal policy framework for adoption in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in the United States Congress. “We have had a positive set of initial deliberations with Congress,” said Andrew Morse, assistant to the president for board and governmental relations at UNI. “We are eager to continue making progress in support of our dynamic educator workforce through reasonable, effective and bipartisan policy action.”

“UNI faculty continue to be at the forefront of preparing future educators and supporting their success at UNI and throughout their careers,” said Colleen Mulholland, interim dean of UNI’s College of Education. “This work is a great step forward in continuing our support of a high quality educator workforce that is equipped to meet the needs of students, schools and communities.”