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Grant launches research collaboration

October 29, 2007

The ASU Foundation recently received a $225,000 grant from the Arizona Community Foundation to fund a three-year research collaboration between ASU, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.

The project, called the Teacher Preparation and Retention Data Collaboration, is aimed at developing a model for the three universities to assess teacher-preparation programs and ensure that all three universities are producing effective teachers. ASU is taking the lead in this statewide effort, which is a priority of ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“This project is important not only to Arizona’s three public state universities, but to the state as a whole,” Crow says. “With the involvement and support of the Arizona Community Foundation, we have an important opportunity to strengthen our state’s teacher education and development programs, which will significantly influence how we prepare teachers and ensure the academic success of their students.”

Through the Teacher Preparation and Retention Data Collaboration, the three universities are hoping to pilot a meaningful assessment model that will enable university education programs to monitor, assess and support students as they progress through their teacher-preparation programs and their teaching careers.

“We anticipate this project will improve the education of teachers and the education of students, as well,” says Mari Koerner, dean of the College of Teacher Education and Leadership at ASU. “As we advance this project, it’s important to the universities that we work with the larger education community – alumni, teachers, school administrators and the Arizona Department of Education. All will be consulted and included.”

The assessment model also will provide feedback at opportune moments in preservice teachers’ training and subsequent professional positions to ensure continuous improvement of programs and practices at all three universities.

“As institutions of higher education that prepare teachers, we recognize that meeting the demands of the teaching field and influencing the academic success of Arizona’s children require the universities to not only produce a high number of teachers, but also to ensure that those teachers are effective once they leave the university and enter the classroom,” says Amanda Burke, associate director of university initiatives at ASU.

The three-year grant from the Arizona Community Foundation will be instrumental in helping ASU lead the effort to produce highly effective teachers in Arizona.

“The Arizona Community Foundation is committed to supporting systemic improvements to education in Arizona,” says Robert L. King, president and chief executive officer of the 29-year-old charity. “The vast majority of data on the quality of a child’s educational experience demonstrate that much rests upon the quality of our teachers. Following college graduates who become teachers into their classrooms and assessing how their students learn will help to enhance and improve the teacher-preparation curriculum at the college level. This is an important step toward producing a quality teaching corps for Arizona’s classrooms.”