The preparation of teachers has long been
a key commitment at Michigan State University. In 2002, MSU took yet
another major step forward when it became part of the Carnegie Corporation
of New York's groundbreaking reform initiative known as Teachers for a New
Of the nearly 1,400 American universities that prepare teachers, only MSU,
Bank Street College of Education in New York, California State University
at Northridge, and the University of Virginia were asked to be part of the
multimillion dollar project in its first year.
The philanthropy's goal for TNE is to establish nationally recognized
"exemplars" of outstanding teacher preparation. Carnegie expects that the
success of MSU and the other institutions, their graduates and the
research produced in the coming years will challenge other universities to
follow these ideas.
In announcing the selection of the four institutions, Carnegie President
Vartan Gregorian said, "Teaching reform is central to school reform, and
these institutions are pioneers in the movement. If we really want to
improve student achievement, we have no choice but to improve teaching."
As part of the project, MSU will receive $5 million over five years to
establish a model for preparing high-quality teachers for the myriad
demands of the contemporary American classroom. In addition to the
Carnegie Corporation, other funders include the Ford, Annenberg and
Rockefeller foundations. The University is expected to raise an additional
$5 million to further the project activities.
The MSU Vision
The TNE initiative treats teacher education as a university-wide
responsibility that includes general, subject area, and professional
education courses, as well as experience in K-12 schools. A unique aspect
of MSU's approach is a focus on the kinds of subject matter knowledge
would-be teachers need to improve student learning. Plans call for
revising or creating (new) courses and developing new coalitions of
university and K-12 school faculty. Another emphasis involves an
understanding of context: the characteristics of the students, the
schools, the communities in which they teach.
Assessment is pivotal to all aspects of the MSU initiative. The project is
committed to identifying or developing assessment tools and promoting
their use in continual program improvement and in tracking student
progress. Another important goal is to have graduates use assessment tools
as an integral part of their teaching to support student learning.
To provide continuing support and promote the continuing professional
development of MSU-trained teachers, a newly-devised induction program
will be available to graduates in the first two years of their careers.
After five years, MSU expects that its
university-wide teacher education program will be preparing teachers who
are more knowledgeable and skilled in their subject areas, better able to
teach their subject to diverse learners, and more proficient in using
assessment information to guide their teaching. MSU expects that its
experiences and results will serve as a model of teacher education reform
for other programs and institutions.
MSU's Teachers for a New Era project will lead to changes in five
areas of teacher preparation:
design of new content courses in English,
mathematics, the social sciences, and the sciences that are well
integrated with education courses focusing on pedagogy and student
overhaul of education coursework and
teacher education field experiences, both in subject matter and teaching
methods so that content and context are central
development of a new two-year induction
program for beginning MSU teachers
creation of a new MSU focus on preparing
teachers for urban schools and educating more teachers from groups of
people underrepresented in the teaching profession
use of assessments to strengthen the
entire MSU teacher education program and evaluate its effectiveness
Michigan State University's highly regarded
teacher preparation program has been a leader in the reform and
development of teacher education for nearly 30 years. MSU has been a
frontrunner as an advocate of extended field experience in schools for MSU
students and strong content preparation of teachers. MSU's program has led
the country in building deep connections with K-12 schools, as well as
implementing a successful fifth-year internship program for new teachers.
Through the Teachers for a New Era initiative, MSU will help lead the way
into a new era of modeling teacher education as a university-wide
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