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AACTE Members Showcase Initiatives to Advance Social Justice, Diversity

A major forum at last month’s AACTE Annual Meeting highlighted actions under way to diversify the teaching workforce and advance social justice at universities across the country. Titled “Meeting the Needs of All Learners: Advancing Social Justice and Diversity in Teacher Preparation,” the forum featured panelists from four Association initiatives working toward these objectives: the AACTE Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teacher Initiative Networked Improvement Community (NIC), the Diversified Teaching Workforce: Recruitment and Retention AACTE Topical Action Group, the AACTE Holmes Program, and the AACTE Committee on Global Diversity.

The forum was moderated by Sharon Leathers of William Paterson University (NJ) and included the following panelists, each of whom is a member of one or more of the four initiatives: Lora Bailey of New Mexico Highlands University, Traci Baxley of Florida Atlantic University, Jacob Easley of Eastern Connecticut University, Conra Gist of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and Reyes Quezada of the University of San Diego (CA).

Leathers posed questions to the panelists about their initiatives’ goals, issues, and actions under way, as well as about how their work can inform action across the field. Panelists also discussed how their roles in these initiatives intersect with their own professional roles, the particular challenges they are addressing, promising practices in the field, and how the AACTE diversity initiatives intersect to support current and aspiring educators from underrepresented populations.

Baxley, who is co-facilitator for the NIC team studying retention issues, reported on that group’s conceptual framework paper anticipated to be completed later this year. The paper will highlight NIC members’ investigation of pathways, using improvement science, to increase the recruitment and retention of Black and Hispanic/Latino males in teaching. It will summarize their findings and include individual case studies illustrating the local application of this process at each of the 10 institutions participating in the NIC.

Following the panel discussion, attendees posed questions that allowed panelists to further explore key aspects of each initiative and issues that had been raised. In all, the session revealed the value of a multipronged approach to addressing inequities in opportunity and developing pathways to support educators from historically underrepresented populations.

You can learn more about each of the featured groups and initiatives, as well as how you can become involved in some of this work, through the links below:

Meanwhile, to view a recording of the major forum and download related PowerPoint slides, along with recordings from the other major forums and general sessions in Tampa, visit the AACTE Learning Center.

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Amanda Lester

Director, Programs & Professional Learning, AACTE