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July 24, 2003

Carnegie grant ushers in new era for teacher preparation at UW

The UW’s College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences were awarded a $5 million grant and designated one of 11 “Teachers for a New Era” schools today. The Carnegie Corporation award will help dramatically reshape the UW’s teacher education program during the next five years.

“The College of Education is in a constant state of re-examination and renewal,” said Dean Pat Wasley. “This grant acknowledges us as a distinguished program that is willing to provide evidence of the value that teacher education contributes to teachers’ competence and children’s accomplishments.”

The Carnegie grant will allow the UW to redesign its curriculum, expand contexts for learning, extend support to teachers beyond graduation, and then thoroughly and continuously evaluate the results. Future teachers will have a clearly defined five-year path toward a master’s degree in teaching and certification in Washington state. In all likelihood the new program will produce significantly more new teachers for Washington schools.

Some of the specific changes planned are:


  • Creation of the Washington Teaching and Learning Center. The center will be the new home for the teacher education program and it will be co-directed by one faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences and another from education. That partnership will help the future teachers make a more direct connection between subject-matter knowledge, which is traditionally covered in Arts and Sciences classes, and pedagogical practices, which are covered in education classes and in partner K-12 schools and preschools.

  • A strengthened partnership with area public schools, especially high-needs schools. UW professors, for example, may spend a term as faculty-in-residence at a local school. They would serve as a resource to students and teachers on the one hand and on the other hand would gain valuable insights into the current classroom environment. The partnership schools would also regularly host UW student interns.

  • Development of a more thorough means of tracking the successes and failures of the teacher education program. While most schools of education at least do surveys to determine if the teachers from their programs are happy and successful, it’s rare to take a comprehensive and in-depth look at their success. The new UW program will, among other things, measure student learning in the schools where the institution’s graduates are placed.

The Carnegie Corporation initiative is intended to directly influence public policy leaders concerned with the quality of the nation’s teachers. That’s an increasingly important goal according to the UW’s Bill McDiarmid, the Boeing Professor of Teacher Education who helped author the UW proposal to Carnegie.

“This grant is an important statement of investment and support for university-based teacher preparation,” he said.

The “Teachers for a New Era” initiative is also supported by the Annenberg, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. More information about the initiative is available online at http://www.carnegie.org/sub/program/teachers.html.