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Regents Hear Progress Report on Teacher Preparation Initiative

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Efforts On Time for “Guaranteed” Graduates; Access Expanded Statewide to Ed.D. Programs

Atlanta — June 9, 1999

“Guaranteed graduates” of the University System of Georgia’s 15 teacher preparation programs will join the workforce in June 2002, prepared to help students learn better at all levels of K-12 education throughout the state, the board of regents was told today.

In a report delivered to the board at its monthly meeting in Atlanta, Dr. Jan Kettlewell, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs with the Board of Regents, told the regents that implementation of the 10 principles they adopted in April of 1998 is “on-time and bearing impressive results.”

The first of those 10 principles – the guarantee commitment – cites that “The University System will guarantee the quality of any teacher it graduates …” and “take back any teacher within the first two years after graduation from a System institution when the teacher is teaching in-field and a school district in Georgia determines the teacher’s performance is less than effective in helping students make satisfactory progress.”

According to Dr. Kettlewell, extensive efforts are being focused on developing means to accurately assess, at the student teaching stage, that teacher candidates are “accomplished in promoting student learning.” In addition, officials of the University System’s 15 teacher preparation programs currently are “devising procedures for an employing school district to follow when seeking additional training for a graduate who is not meeting the school’s expectation.”

Descriptions of how each University System institution offering teacher preparation programs will meet the regents’ 1998 policy must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by May 30, 2000. All program revisions will go into effect for students admitted to those program in the Fall of 2000. Since most undergraduate students are typically admitted to teacher prep programs at the middle of their sophomore or beginning of their junior year in college, those students would be the first “guaranteed graduates” entering the state’s teaching profession in June 2002.

“I have had several opportunities to work personally with the campuses in implementing the board’s principles, and I have seen tremendous growth and progress during the past year,” Dr. Kettlewell stated. “What this means for the students who will enter our teacher preparation programs in 2000 is that they will be able to achieve more positive learning results from their pupils, and the University System will stand on our guarantee that they can do that.”

Kettlewell also outlined to the regents a comprehensive plan for statewide expansion of access to doctoral education (Ed.D.) programs, which will augment the four programs currently in existence at the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Valdosta State University, and Georgia Southern University. The board approved the statewide plan to expand Ed.D. program access at four locations around the state, including:

  • Valdosta State University, which will expand its Ed.D. programs through collaboration with Albany State University and Columbus State University;
  • Georgia Southern University, which will expand its Ed.D. program in collaboration with Augusta State University;
  • State University of West Georgia, which is seeking approval to offer programs at the Ed.D. level independently, after working with the University of Georgia in a collaborative program for the past 10 years.
  • Fort Valley State University, which will continue to build its readiness for independently offering Ed.D. programs, expanding on its collaborative work with the University of Georgia over the past two years.

Each of the new institutions participating in the Ed.D. expansion program must submit formal program proposals for consideration and final action by the board of regents.

According to Dr. Kettlewell, another major development in the implementation of the regents initiative is a change in the academic unit responsible for teacher preparation at the campus level. The colleges of education and colleges of arts and sciences are now sharing responsibility for teacher training, moving away from the traditional model in which the colleges of education were responsible for preparing the teacher candidates, with the arts and sciences faculty only delivering some courses.

“This is a major breakthrough,” stated Kettlewell, “reflecting a culture change that has involved countless levels of commitment and inter-departmental changes. This move will result in future teachers seeing stronger connections between the specific subjects they will be teaching and how to teach those subjects to students.”

Kettlewell also informed the regents that on June 15, the Georgia P-16 Council will act on a plan for having a qualified teacher in every public school classroom by the year 2006, in order to improve teacher quality in the state’s public schools.

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