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Rowan University Strengthening Pipeline of Male Educators of Color

Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.

New Jersey’s Rowan University has a new initiative poised to make an impact in increasing the number of men of color going into teaching, aiming to diversify the educator pipeline to better reflect the nation’s demographics. In fact, the program’s very name is IMPACT—Increasing Male Practitioners and Classroom Teachers.

The experiential program is recruiting high-achieving incoming male freshmen from diverse backgrounds to join one of several urban-focused teacher preparation programs. Participants will receive supports including financial assistance and tailored professional development to develop their practice as future transformational leaders in the classroom.

The mission of IMPACT is to increase the representation of men from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds in teaching and to respond to persistent opportunity gaps faced by minority youth. Participants are expected to utilize their education to contribute to the socioeconomic and educational transformation of their communities.

The program fits well with the university’s goals, said Monika Williams Shealey, dean and professor of special education in Rowan’s College of Education and a member of AACTE’s Board of Directors. “This new initiative aligns to the university and college missions and strategic priorities,” she said, which include access, affordability, quality, and serving as an economic engine for the community (at the university level) and a commitment to excellence in education and innovation (at the college level).

Nationwide, enrollment in education programs is low for men of color. There are now more students of color than White students in U.S. public schools, yet teachers of color represent only 18% of the country’s teaching population—and Black male teachers are less than 2% of the workforce.

As potential causes of this underrepresentation, Dean Shealey cites limited role models from diverse backgrounds in teaching, negative experiences of learners from diverse backgrounds with schools, an overreliance on standardized assessments in college admissions and entry to teacher education programs, and lack of access in education careers to opportunities that are available in other professions.

Rowan is a participating institution in the AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program, which supports students from historically underrepresented backgrounds pursuing doctoral degrees in education. The IMPACT initiative aims to diversify the profession from another strategic angle. An AACTE Holmes Scholar from Rowan’s new Ph.D. program will be assigned to assist with IMPACT.

For more information, visit http://rowan.edu/coeimpact.

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Melvin Bogard

Media Relations Coordinator Intern