February 17, 2005

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Joseph C. Agbasi Student Assistant

VSU to Receive Two National Best Practice Awards

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) has honored Valdosta State University (VSU) with two awards to be presented at the AACTE's 57th Annual Meeting and Exhibits at the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C., Feb. 20-23.

VSU will be named the 2005 recipient of the Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology. The award, sponsored by AACTE's Committee on Technology in Teacher Education, recognizes a school, college, or department of education that models the innovative uses of technology. The award is supported by the Microsoft Corporation.

The programs offered video-streamed, web-based instruction, and video-conferencing technology to help prepare teachers and interpreters of deaf and hard of hearing students in the 41 county region serviced by VSU.

"This award is simply reflective of the dedication to excellence and high expectations of the faculty members in the College of Education at Valdosta State University,? said Dr. Philip L. Gunter, dean of VSU's College of Education.

"This award represents the apex of the integration of technology into teaching and learning at Valdosta State University; teachers prepared in this program will be our leaders in innovative thinking," said Dr. Ronald M. Zaccari, Valdosta State University president. ?We are honored by this recognition of the efforts to fulfill our mission as a regional university by using technology to provide learning opportunities for all.?

VSU will also be named the 2005 recipient of the Best Practice Award for the Collaboration with Community Colleges. The award recognizes outstanding collaboration between teacher education programs at a college/university and a community college.

Valdosta State University partnered with Waycross College, South Georgia College, and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College to develop a program combination of Special Education and Early Childhood Education to attend to students with and without disabilities.

?We are proud to be recognized for our efforts in producing highly qualified early childhood educators who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work with all children in their classrooms,? said Dr. Julia M. Reffel, department head of VSU's Early Childhood and Reading Education Department. ?We feel as if we are producing a seamless approach to teacher education in areas of critical shortage.?

?Our collaboration with our two-year colleges will assist us in providing high quality teachers for very rural areas by preparing those teachers in the communities in which they live,? Zaccari said. ?It allows both Valdosta State and the local college to become one.?

According to AACTE's website, www.aacte.org, the Best Practice Awards were created in 1996. The association developed these awards to recognize institutions that have displayed ?best practice? in accomplishing AACTE's strategic goals.

AACTE is a national, voluntary association of colleges and universities with undergraduate or graduate programs to prepare professional educators. The 785 AACTE member institutions graduate approximately 90 percent of the nation's new teachers and other educators each year. AACTE's headquarters is in Washington.

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