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Clinical Practice Commission Members Share Vision for Advancing Teaching Profession

The AACTE Clinical Practice Commission (CPC) was launched in June 2015 with the goals of establishing a shared lexicon, identifying model protocols and best practices, and developing actionable recommendations for the field to define and align high-quality clinical practice in teacher preparation. The commission’s work is projected to extend through December 2016, but the 68th AACTE Annual Meeting held in February provided an opportunity to share the group’s work to date and gather feedback from the field.

During the conference, members of the CPC presented their vision for clinical practice, built upon a foundation of strong PK-24 partnerships and centered on transforming educator preparation by unifying the profession. Several commissioners provided insight into the CPC’s work as presenters during the preconference event “Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Through School-University Partnerships,” sponsored by the Wallace Foundation, and as featured panelists in the major forum “Clinical Practice in Educator Preparation.”

Three members of the CPC, Kristien Zenkov and Audra Parker from George Mason University (VA) and Rene Roselle from the University of Connecticut, spoke at the preconference event. Their presentation summarized the commission’s progress toward developing a white paper and a shared lexicon to connect the essential elements of clinical partnerships. They also discussed the common structures of clinical preparation and the implications that clinical teacher preparation has for advancing clinical practice in principal preparation.

The major forum presentation featured an overview of the commission’s work by CPC Chair Rodrick Lucero, AACTE vice president for member engagement and support, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Lisa Stooksberry, CPC member and senior vice president at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Three key themes guided the panel discussion:

  1. Transforming the preparation of teachers through clinical practice
  2. Transforming the teaching profession through clinical practice
  3. The internal and external barriers to establishing clinical practice as the norm in teacher preparation

Other members of the CPC on the major forum panel included university-based teacher educators and PK-12 school administrators, each of whom provided perspectives as practitioners seeking to advance clinical preparation through the progressive development of school-university partnerships: Derek Decker of Colorado State University; Mark Eversole and Jennifer Roth of Fort Collins High School (CO); Marcy Keifer-Kennedy and Chris Kennedy of Ohio University; and George Mason’s Kristien Zenkov.

Following the panel presentation, the audience was invited to discuss individual experiences within the three themes. Many participants submitted summaries from their conversations, which will further inform the direction of the commission’s work.

The CPC represents a call to action by the profession for the profession, the significance of which was evident in the contagious enthusiasm of conference participants about the commission’s work. The excitement and engagement shown at each event demonstrated a growing appetite for efforts to elevate clinical preparation as a way of transforming and unifying the education profession.

Additional information about the CPC can be found in two blogs from November 2015 (see here and here). To learn more about clinical practice initiatives under way across the country, you can also view the Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series in AACTE’s Innovation Exchange.


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Amanda Lester

Associate Director for Member Engagement and Support, AACTE

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