Best Practices for Teacher Diversity Highlighted at AACTE Institute

On March 1, the AACTE Diversified Teaching Workforce Institute convened more than 150 teacher educators, aspiring teachers, school leaders, and deans from across the nation to address one of the most pressing issues in educator preparation today: increasing the racial/ethnic diversity of the teacher pipeline.

The event was organized by leaders of the Diversified Teaching Workforce (DTW) Topical Action Group (TAG), with assistance from AACTE’s Department of Member Engagement and Support. Members of the DTW TAG were joined at this inaugural institute by participants from the AACTE Holmes Program, the Black & Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative Networked Improvement Community, and dozens of others from the broader education community. (See the PDF program for the schedule of sessions, panelists, and other information.)

The morning opened with a panel discussion of common challenges as well as individual, collective, and systemic strategies for and research on increasing teacher diversity across the teacher development continuum. Following this opening panel, teacher diversity experts in the areas of recruitment and retention, educator preparation, mentorship, professional development, and advocacy led breakout groups to discuss concerns they were facing at their home institutions.

Angela Valenzuela, professor of educational policy and planning and director of the Texas Center for Educational Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, gave a midday keynote on her latest book, Growing Critically Conscious Teachers for Latino/a Youth: A Grounded Social Justice Approach (Teachers College Press). Opening the talk in song to uplift and honor indigenous knowledges that are often forgotten in work with students and teachers of color, she challenged the audience to consider possibilities for supporting critically conscious educational opportunities via curriculum and “grow your own teacher” initiatives.

The afternoon featured four concurrent panel sessions chaired by DTW members to grapple with the roles different stakeholders play in the high school to college pipeline; educator preparation to school district pipeline; school district professional development and mentorship supports; and advocacy efforts for teacher diversity. Practitioners were spotlighted during these panels to offer participants ideas and strategies for taking up similar efforts at their home institution.

At the closing reception, Rowan University Education Dean Monika Williams Shealey was honored as the 2017 Teacher Diversity Award recipient for her leadership with her institution’s Project IMPACT program. She gave an inspiring talk urging teacher education leaders to take concrete steps to advance teacher diversity right where they are: with their faculty and teacher preparation programs.

The DTW Institute was the first of its kind organized by a TAG at the AACTE Annual Meeting, and we hope to build on its success at the 2018 conference in Baltimore. To learn more about the AACTE DTW TAG, contact us at or

The authors are members of AACTE’s Diversified Teaching Workforce Topical Action Group.

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Conra D. Gist

University of Arkansas

Tim Mahoney

Millersville University