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(July 21, 2014, Washington, D.C.) The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) has awarded a 2014 Research Fellowship in Educator Preparation to the University of Southern Maine (USM), investing $30,000 during the coming academic year in a study of what student and institutional factors are most influential in determining job-placement rates for graduates of traditional teacher preparation programs at Maine’s public universities.
Institutions that prepare teachers have long collected information on their graduates’ job placement in order to gauge their own success, inform their constituents and improve their future practices. Increasingly, institutions also must report employment data for accountability purposes; the newest national accreditation standards require such evidence of “program impact,” and the pending new federal regulations for teacher preparation programs are likely to have a similar reporting requirement. Helping policy makers and others on the receiving end of these reports to make sense of the data—and make decisions that are grounded in research—is the primary goal of this timely study.
Additional goals of the research are to fuel program improvement by providing institutions with meaningful information about influential practices and to produce a technical report for the University of Maine System on the technical feasibility of collecting, matching and analyzing job-placement data statewide.
The AACTE member panel that reviewed the nearly 80 proposals for the 2014 Research Fellowship said USM’s proposal not only is well-conceived and articulated, but also addresses a pressing need in the field related to an important policy question—and as such, has the potential for outcomes that can be of use well beyond Maine’s borders.
“We are pleased to sponsor USM’s innovative research to inform both policy makers and preparation programs about this important aspect of program impact,” said Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of AACTE. “This much-needed study will strengthen the profession’s ability to collect and report data on program completers, and to use the information in meaningful ways.”
USM College of Management and Human Service Dean Joseph W. McDonnell said, “We are delighted that a team of USM researchers has been given this opportunity to undertake an in-depth study that will inform education policy makers about the complex relationship between the quality of teacher education programs and job placement of graduates.”
The USM project is one of two inaugural AACTE Research Fellowships awarded for 2014; the other is based at William Paterson University of New Jersey, in partnership with Kean University and Rowan University. The fellowships are one component of AACTE’s new Innovation Exchange, which supports university-based educator preparation programs in responding to the changing demands of the workforce and in preparing educators to meet the needs of PK-12 learners. The Innovation Exchange speeds the pace of change by creating a forum in which AACTE’s members, partners and other professional colleagues can share experiences and findings as they address the most urgent issues of student achievement, curriculum reform and preparation program advancement.
For more information on the AACTE Research Fellowship in Educator Preparation and the Innovation Exchange, visit http://theinnovationexchange.net.
AACTE: The Premier Voice on Educator Preparation The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners on Day 1. Its over 800 member institutions represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE seeks to lead the field in advocacy and capacity building by promoting innovation and effective practices as critical to reforming educator preparation. For more information, visit www.aacte.org.