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AACTE Holmes Scholars Program to Expand Support of Diverse Students

William Paterson University of New Jersey to Pilot Expansion to Undergraduate, Master’s Students

AACTE is expanding the AACTE Holmes Scholars® doctoral-level program to also support underrepresented students at earlier stages of their education careers. Beginning this fall, William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, will pilot the new programs for undergraduates and master’s-level students to help diversify the education workforce.

Currently, participation in the Holmes Scholars Program is open to all AACTE member institutions with doctoral programs in education. The newly expanded Holmes Program will reach high school students through the Holmes Cadets Program, undergraduates through the Holmes Honors Program, and master’s-level students through the Holmes Master’s Program. The peer network will continue to feature prominently across all levels, with doctoral Holmes Scholars mentoring Master’s and Honors students just as the scholars benefit from mentoring through the alumni network.

“The Holmes Scholars Program is an important asset to the profession, and a model that has the potential to be effective on a wider scope,” said Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE. “Expanding its reach to future teachers at the undergraduate and master’s levels – and even in high schools – will enable more institutions to participate, and contribute to a more systemic effort to remedy the persistent underrepresentation of minorities in the educator pipeline.”

Currently operating in 25 institutions in 16 states, the existing Holmes Scholars Program provides mentorship, peer support, and professional development to education doctoral students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, especially racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. Participating institutions may offer scholarships, fellowships, or tuition waivers in addition to mentoring and financial support for scholars to attend national conferences. At the national level, Holmes Scholars participate in a summer institute, as well as the AACTE Annual Meeting. They also participate in regular communications through AACTE and benefit from close connections with the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA).

Since its inception in 1991, the Holmes Scholars Program has increased the diversity of the candidate pool for faculty positions in colleges of education, with hundreds of alumni now in tenure-track, clinical, and leadership positions. By extending similar supports to secondary, bachelor’s, and master’s students, the new Holmes Program will bolster another important candidate pool: minority students preparing to enter the PK-12 teaching workforce and graduate programs in education.

Under the leadership of College of Education Dean Candace Burns and Holmes Director Sharon Leathers, William Paterson will launch the Holmes Honors and Holmes Master’s programs in the 2015-16 academic year. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to further our efforts in diversifying the teaching workforce,” said Dean Burns. “Our Holmes students will have an extraordinary opportunity to participate in peer-to-peer support networks, both at William Paterson University and with colleagues across the country in partnership with the AACTE Holmes Scholars and the alumni network.”

“As the William Paterson Holmes director, I am pleased to coordinate the planning and implementation of the first Holmes Honors and Master’s programs,” said Leathers. “I am especially excited at the potential for these programs to highlight and promote student scholarship and learning.”

Jacob Easley II, dean of Eastern Connecticut University’s School of Education and Professional Studies/Graduate Division, is a Holmes Scholars alumnus and president of NAHSA. He encourages more students from underrepresented communities to take a broader view of their future options, including envisioning themselves as teachers or even professors. “An investment in the Holmes program is part of a comprehensive plan underscored by continuous improvement not only of our educator preparation programs, but of the profession at large,” Easley said.

For more information about the AACTE Holmes Program, visit http://aacte.org/programs-and-services/holmes-program.


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Omar Davis

Manager of Member Engagement, AACTE

Rodrick Lucero

Vice President for Member Engagement and Support

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