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Innovative Programs, Partnerships at UNLV Featured in AACTE Spotlight on Clinical Practice

It is my pleasure to introduce a new feature in the AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series focused on clinical preparation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) College of Education.

UNLV offers clinical experiences for educator candidates through a variety of partnerships and programs with the Clark County School District (CCSD), which College of Education Dean Kim Metcalf describes as a “natural laboratory” environment. Their thriving collaboration continues to evolve, with the latest outgrowth being a new initiative for research and clinical experience in Paradise Elementary School. The college also has a long-standing partnership with the inclusive preschool on campus, which serves the wider community and provides learning opportunities for both students and researchers across the university.

The AACTE visit to the UNLV campus earlier this year was outstanding. The faculty and staff are passionate in their work and are clear about their collective vision for the future, leading them to implement their clinical practice model with fidelity to the benefit of the PK-12 students and teacher candidates. They understand the importance of “we” in the preparation of teachers, recognizing the vital role that the university shares with the local school district – an impressive feat for a large university. The community that Dean Metcalf and his colleagues have created around the effective and high-quality preparation of teachers is a hallmark of the collaboration.

“We’ve worked very hard to develop a close, responsive, mutually beneficial partnership with our colleagues at CCSD,” said Metcalf. “In fact, our college leadership team meets quarterly with the executive team of CCSD to talk through issues, identify opportunities, and ensure communication. This has allowed the college to design some truly innovative approaches to address the unique needs of the district. It’s also enabled us far greater ability to engage with the district in substantive research.”

Over the coming weeks, AACTE will post blog articles with embedded video links to share what we learned during our visit to the UNLV campus. The videos capture our conversations with groups including PK-12 students, teacher candidates, veteran teachers, community members, students, and local principals about what they see as the key features, challenges, and benefits of this rich partnership.

Visit the Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series page in the AACTE Innovation Exchange to view the first UNLV video as well as past features in the series.

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Rodrick Lucero

Vice President for Member Engagement and Support