September 13, 2004
Story courtesy of: American Association of State Colleges andUniversities (AASCU)

Contact: Heather Berg 202-478-4665

Three Public Universities Recognized for Excellence in TeacherEducation

Campuses in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia Honored for Documenting Pupil Achievement

WASHINGTON, DC?Three public universities have been honored for leadership and innovation in teacher education.

Longwood University (Va.), University of Central Florida, and Valdosta State University (Ga.) have been named the 2004 recipients of the Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

The purpose of the award is two fold: To recognize excellence in teacher education programs and to advance the field of teacher education by identifying promising practices and critical issues related to measuring the impact of programs on teacher candidate knowledge and the impact of these teachers on pupil learning.

In announcing the awards, AASCU President Constantine W. (Deno) Curris said, ?Many of our teacher education programs are doing outstanding jobs. We want to recognize the best among those programs.?

The Christa McAuliffe awardees and the programs for which they are being recognized are as follows:

Longwood University is being recognized for creating a Liberal Studies-Elementary Partnership Program (LStEPP). The LStEPP is designed to ensure collaboration among faculty in arts and sciences, education, public school teachers, and administrators. Teacher candidates learn to prepare a Teacher Work Sample, an assessment method that is designed to inform their teaching through continuous student assessment. The LStEPP has documented success through teaching unit tests as well as standardized test scores.

?Longwood University has a 166-year history of excellence in teacher preparation. The Christa McAuliffe award demonstrates that this legacy has been sustained and even enhanced by our stunning success in achieving high levels of student achievement in elementary schools in rural Virginia. Our student teachers? performance proves once again the value of being trained in a public university devoted to preparing citizen-leaders for the common good,? said Patricia Cormier, president, Longwood University.

The University of Central Florida is being recognized for improving mathematics and science education in Central Florida. The Lockheed Martin/UCF Academy for Mathematics and Science is a graduate program that strengthens the quality of teaching and learning in mathematics and science education, has created a network of school-based leadership in mathematics and science education, and has demonstrated that students of their graduates score significantly better on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test than students of other teachers with other masters degrees.

Valdosta State University is being recognized for creating a professional development program for science teachers. Learning through Inquiry Science and Technology (LIST) programs are planned and implemented collaboratively with advisory panels consisting of scientists, education technologists, master teachers, science educators and science education graduate students. The LIST program has documented success in improving science learning with P-12 students through improvements in standardized test scores, as well as through teacher reports on their students.

?Valdosta State University is gratified by the peer recognition of the LIST Project and its positive impact on area public schools. The project serves as a partnership with schools in South Georgia and North Florida and assists in fulfilling VSU's important mission as a regional university within the University System of Georgia. Additionally VSU is proud to be an AASCU ?interactive university? serving as a catalyst for education, economic development, and cultural activities," said Ronald M. Zaccari, president, Valdosta State University.

George L. Mehaffy, AASCU's vice president for Academic Leadership and Change, and whose division oversees the award process, said, ?The Christa McAuliffe Award challenges teacher education programs to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs, an incredibly difficult task. Yet these three award winners have made striking progress in demonstrating the impact of their program on graduates and the impact of those graduates on K-12 students.

?Through this award, these nationally-selected programs offer innovative leadership in the continuing redesign and improvement of teacher education,? he said. ?The proposals we received demonstrate that AASCU institutions are committed to placing highly trained and fully qualified teachers in America's classrooms.?

AASCU's Christa McAuliffe award, named in honor of the teacher who died in the Challenger disaster, was first presented in the 1980s. In 2001 the AASCU Board of Directors authorized a change in focus for the award?an emphasis on honoring programs that could document the success of their graduates and their impact on the pupils that they teach.

AASCU institutions prepare more than 50 percent of all new teachers in the United States. Curris noted that ?AASCU members are working to increase both the quantity and quality of teachers for America's classrooms.?

AASCU will present the award at their 2004 Annual Meeting scheduled for November 21-23 in Charleston, South Carolina.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities represents more than 430 public colleges, universities and systems of higher education throughout the United States and its territories.