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Board of Regents Launches Teacher Preparation Initiative

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Atlanta — October 8, 1997

In a move supporting current goals of increased admissions standards and strengthened collaboration with the K-12 sector to enhance student readiness, the Board of Regents received a data-driven report today aimed at launching the board’s 1997-98 teacher preparation initiative. The report was delivered to the board’s Strategic Planning Committee today (Oct. 8), at the regents monthly board meeting, held at Clayton College & State University.

Current Board of Regents Chairman S. William Clark, Jr. has adopted teacher preparation as a key initiative for the Board of Regents during his chairmanship, as a natural intersection with the board’s recent efforts in the areas of admissions standards, educational partnerships and academic outreach and intervention.

“Teaching is the very cornerstone of our academic systems–in both K-12 and higher education,” stated James Muyskens, senior vice chancellor of academic affairs for the University System of Georgia. “In recent years, new technologies, societal issues and workforce patterns all have impacted this profession in critical ways that need to be addressed. We recognize our role in preparing many of the state’s future teachers, and accordingly are committed to dedicating our resources and our attention to enhancing teacher preparation.”

Muyskens said anticipated outcomes of the new initiative are: to increase collaboration among those involved in teacher preparation, to elevate the prominence and attractiveness of teaching as a career choice among college and university students, and to develop well-informed policy recommendations that will have significant impact on the teaching profession.

“As we undertake this study, we will be heavily engaged with our educational partner, the Department of Education, as well as with the academic leadership of the 15 schools and or colleges of education within the University System,” Muyskens stated. “Our goal is to enhance the ability of teachers to meet the challenges they face in today’s classrooms, ultimately ensuring their success in this vital profession.”

According to Muyskens, during the next nine months the board will gather and report data, identify best practices in the teacher preparation field as models for potential replication within the University System, and ultimately present policy recommendations for the Board of Regents’ approval.

Three key questions have been posed to guide the information-gathering phase of the initiative:

  • What are we doing to recruit the best and brightest students into the teaching profession?
  • Is the current preparation of teachers the best possible given the challenges that they face?
  • What is higher education’s role in supporting the professional development of teachers once they enter the profession?

Muyskens will lead a task force that has been appointed to study key teacher preparation issues and to develop the proposed policies. The group includes teachers from the K-12 sector, the deputy state school superintendent, faculty and deans from the University System’s colleges of arts and sciences and schools/colleges of education, as well as college and university vice presidents and presidents. Policy recommendations will be brought forward to the Board of Regents in the spring, initially for consideration and later for final action.

During the past two years, the Board of Regents has addressed the need for students to be more effectively prepared to compete in a 21st century marketplace of heightened expectations. Accordingly, the board has implemented policies and engaged in a massive effort to significantly increase admissions standards at its 34 colleges and universities by the year 2001. All students who desire admission must now complete a minimum of 16 credits of college preparatory curriculum at the high school level to be considered for acceptance. Admission into the University System’s research and regional universities, as well as the state universities, will require additional academic coursework beyond the minimum of 16 units.

To ensure that all students will be able to meet the higher admissions standards, the Board of Regents implemented a year-round academic enrichment program in August of 1996, to serve students in at-risk situations. The Postsecondary Readiness Enrichment Program, popularly known as PREP, currently has more than 6,000 students actively involved at more than 178 sites throughout Georgia.

In addition to these efforts, the board has been engaged in an extensive collaborative effort with the Georgia Department of Education, the Department of Technical and Adult Education and the Office of School Readiness to improve students’ success and their preparation for postsecondary study. This program, called the P-16 Initiative, has led to joint agreement regarding public high school graduation requirements and University System admissions standards.

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