This month, I visited the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) to participate in a kick-off symposium for the new AACTE Holmes Cadets Program starting there. The participating high school students were a dynamic reminder of why AACTE is expanding the Holmes Program: to support historically underrepresented students pursuing careers in education in order to diversify the field, from PK-12 through the professoriate. I was honored to welcome these passionate Holmes Cadets, who are poised to bring a strong Hispanic/Latino contingent to the teaching profession.
Do you know any Holmes Scholar alumni? Or perhaps you were once a Holmes Scholar yourself? Then we want to hear from you!
In an effort to better connect with Holmes Program alumni positioned across the nation and the world, AACTE and the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) have developed a brief survey to update our existing records. The organizations also hope to learn more about the program’s impact to inform improvements going forward.
Participation in the AACTE Holmes Program produces tangible results for students through many local and nationwide channels of support. These benefits include not only success in completing a course of study but also mentoring and professional networks that extend well past graduation. The following testimonial from program alumna Bridget Steele, who graduated from the University of Central Florida 4 years ago, conveys how being a Holmes Scholar can shape a student’s experience through graduate school and beyond:
During last month’s AACTE Annual Meeting, the Holmes Program preconference events brought together 74 Holmes Scholars, at least 15 coordinators, and numerous alumni from across the nation. The events, facilitated by the Holmes Scholars Council, AACTE, and the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA), included participants from 17 member institutions, more than a dozen presenters, and the program’s first cohort of undergraduate students, known as Holmes Honors students. Attendees shared their research, held a variety of formal and informal meetings, and elected new leaders for the coming year.
While attending, we observed the act of relationship building during program sessions and after hours where the new relations began to take root. Participants were clearly excited about the opportunities to connect with peers from around the nation and to participate in conference sessions that were inspiring and powerful. Representatives from AACTE and NAHSA answered what seemed like endless inquiries about program implementation and growth strategies. Considering the overall feedback from participants, all in attendance walked away with a wealth of knowledge as well as new friends and colleagues.
Please join AACTE November 17 for a free webinar highlighting three AACTE member and partner initiatives that are developing strategies and action to increase diversity in the teaching workforce.
A recent report by the Albert Shanker Institute, The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education, identifies teacher diversity in our nation’s schools as “an educational civil right for students” that is not adequately represented in the current educator workforce. In AACTE’s webinar, “Advancing Diversity in the Teaching Workforce: Three Initiatives Working Toward Solutions,” participants in three initiatives will “tell the story” of their work, providing the background for their initiative, the key issues and challenges they are addressing, and the progress they have made to identify solutions.
On September 25, AACTE staff had the privilege of taking part in the inaugural Project LEAD (Leaders in Education Advocating for Diversity) Summit in Chicago, Illinois. The summit was a daylong conference conducted by the Associated Colleges of Illinois Center for Success in High-Need Schools to engage teacher candidates and faculty in interactive discussions focused on increasing diversity in the teacher workforce.
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.
A new ethics framework from the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) aims to guide PK-12 educators in their decision making—and assist their preparation programs in nurturing their ability to make ethical decisions. NASDTEC unveiled the Model Code of Ethics for Educators at a press conference June 25 in Washington, DC.
The code was developed over the past year in a joint effort with Educational Testing Service, the University of Phoenix, and the National Association of State Teachers of the Year. Once the draft was ready, a public comment period last winter provided feedback before the language was finalized. NASDTEC considers the result to be a fluid document that will continue to adjust to conditions in the field. Its board even created a new National Council for the Advancement of Educator Ethics to oversee modifications to the framework on an ongoing basis, and comments are still welcome on the document.
Many of your institutions have championed the AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program by establishing local programs, while others have yet to realize the potential of the program to meet not only individual universities’ needs but the greater goals of the profession—such as AACTE’s strategic goal to launch and sustain systemwide initiatives to promote the diversity of the professional community and to prepare educators who can serve diverse learners. On May 15-16, this trajectory gained steam in Tallahassee, Florida, where officials from Florida A&M University (FAMU), the University of Central Florida (UCF), the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NASHA), and AACTE gathered with scholars from member institutions for the Holmes Scholars Dissertation Retreat on the FAMU campus.
More than 60 AACTE Holmes Scholars® participated in the Annual Meeting in Atlanta last month. The commitment of their 15 host institutions, as well as of AACTE, to building a more diverse professional community was on full display in the lively atmosphere and collegial environment at the conference, which offered a platform of reinvigoration for some and the start of an exciting journey for others. One attendee commented that she had not experienced that much energy in quite a while.
At the kick-off session February 27, AACTE’s Rodrick Lucero, vice president for member engagement and support, described the Association’s renewed commitment to the Holmes Scholars Program and emphasized its value and necessity in the field. He highlighted goals for the coming year, which touched on not only recruiting and retaining scholars in academia, but looking closely at the entire continuum of PK-24. Lucero praised the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NASHA) for its continued support in providing highly sought-after mentoring services for 1st-year and midlevel doctoral students.