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Meet the AACTE Diversified Teacher Workforce TAG (and Apply for Its Teacher Diversity Award by Nov. 9)

Topical action groups (TAGs) are groups formed within AACTE to provide a forum for individuals with common interests to network, collaborate, conduct research, and develop policy with the support of AACTE, which provides operational funds, publicity, meeting space at the Annual Meeting, and support that comes from affiliation with the Association. For more information, visit http://aacte.org/professional-development-and-events/tags.

In 2014, a group of teacher educators focused on teacher diversity convened to form the AACTE Diversified Teacher Workforce (DTW) TAG, which, although relatively new, has already begun a number of ambitious initiatives. DTW had its first formal meetings at the 2015 AACTE Annual Meeting and developed a mission statement.

The Diversified Teacher Workforce TAG will articulate why teacher diversification is important; encourage campuses to diversify their teaching candidate pools and provide them with strategies to do so; identify ways to encourage candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to enter the teaching workforce; explore how the community can provide ongoing support for these teachers once they enter the workforce; and provide a forum for sharing ideas and offering support for faculty and administrators engaged in teacher diversification across the nation.

The two of us convened these initial meetings and, working with other members, developed three goals to guide the work of DTW until the 2016 AACTE Annual Meeting:

  • Establish a forum to discuss practices that are being used to recruit, select, and retain candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Establish a visible presence at the AACTE Annual Meeting to make the topic of diversity in education more prominent.
  • Network with other professional organizations that have a diversity focus within education to identify effective strategies to recruit, support, and retain diverse teaching candidates and disseminate research and practices advocated by those organizations.

Ultimately, our goal is to provide an accessible space where people interested in diversifying the candidate pool of beginning teachers can find research, wisdom, and policies to inform their work, and can connect and collaborate with individuals and programs doing similar work across the nation.

At the 2015 meetings, DTW also formed five committees charged with more specific roles within the three more general goals of the DTW. These five committees have been meeting regularly since the Annual Meeting to create research agendas, develop reasonable goals, and begin advocacy for the goals and mission of the DTW within their institutions and in AACTE. The committees and committee chairs are as follows:

At the 2016 AACTE Annual Meeting, DTW has a number of events that will increase the visibility of the work of diversifying the teaching workforce in the organization. There will be a business meeting at the beginning of the conference and a reception at the end of the conference more focused on organizing individuals and groups to continue the work that has been started. At the reception, the first recipient of the Annual DTW Teacher Diversity Research Award will be given a chance to share his or her wisdom and experience that led the group to award a $900 honorarium (the monies will facilitate attendance at the Annual Meeting for the awardee). Nominations for the DTW Teacher Diversity Award are due November 9; see award description here.

In addition to the two TAG events, DTW has a research panel, "Developing a Diversified Teaching Workforce in Teacher Education: Organizing and Realizing a Commitment to Teacher Diversity in Praxis," that will include perspectives from four of the five committees to facilitate further conversation about diversifying the teaching workforce.

If you are interested in getting involved in the work of the DTW and collaborating with like-minded individuals to push for the visibility of diversifying the teaching workforce, e-mail Conra Gist (gist@uark.edu) or contact one of the committee chairs directly to get involved.

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Conra D. Gist

University of Arkansas

Tim Mahoney

Millersville University