Why Join AACTE? Members Cite Value in Advocacy, Resources, Networking

AACTE members and President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone enjoy a moment at the 2017 AACTE Day on the Hill. Focus group respondents cited the Association’s advocacy work and convenings among the top member benefits.

As members of the AACTE Committee on Membership Development and Capacity Building, we are eager to learn from the results of the AACTE survey currently under way – and we thank all of you who have participated! In the meantime, we would like to highlight some insights from a recent online focus group of 26 teacher educators from colleges and universities that are current, former, or prospective members of AACTE.

This group, convened on behalf of AACTE by Marketing General Incorporated (the same agency managing the current broad-market survey), reported an almost universally positive image of AACTE’s brand and belief in its mission. But what the current members of AACTE say they value most is the organization’s advocacy work, high-quality resources, and networking connections with other professionals in the field.

“[AACTE’s value to me] has changed over time,” said one participant. “Initially I really valued the annual conference, and I still do. I try to attend every year. However, for two years I served as our dean and I began to really value the support and access to policy that AACTE afforded. Currently, with so many changes underway with a new federal administration, I really rely on AACTE to stay up to date on changes and new issues.”

Another participant said, “I value the opportunity to intersect with colleagues, to discuss issues, and to assist each other in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.”

“The advocacy and modeling of advocacy has been so helpful,” said a third respondent. “I can use so much of what is put out by AACTE with my state policy makers and experts.”

The following reasons were most cited by current members for why others should join AACTE:

  • Advocacy for educator preparation
  • Advancing teacher education research
  • Good website
  • Top journal
  • Connecting with others in field
  • Opportunities to present and publish
  • Platform for communication with policy makers

Asked what specifically membership with AACTE provides that cannot be obtained elsewhere, respondents cited the national-level, singular focus on educator preparation, comprehensive support, and the Annual Meeting.

“[AACTE is] a focal group for all universities in educator preparation, which encourages/supports our faculty, staff, and student work and presence at a national level,” said one current member.

“I would describe it as an advocacy group for our profession, which unites universities around common problems and seeks to amplify our voices,” another offered.

The focus group also identified several concerns for the Association and the field to address. These include declining enrollments and funding in educator preparation programs; challenges related to policy, regulations, and accreditation; and decreasing respect for the education workforce, which also faces low salaries, high attrition, and inadequate diversity, among other issues.

As the AACTE membership renewal deadline draws nearer, we hope that these messages resonate with you – and that you will choose to join us again for 2018 to address these challenges together and build a stronger professional community. We also look forward to hearing your own feedback about the Association’s work in the current survey!

Members of the Committee on Membership Development and Capacity Building include Chair Theresa J. Canada, Western Connecticut State University; Board Liaison Monika Shealey, Rowan University (NJ); Teresa Clark, Murray State University (KY); Carolyn Hopp, University of Central Florida; Jennifer Kampmann, South Dakota State University; Frank Kline, Highline College (WA); and Beth N. Quick, University of Alabama Huntsville.

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