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Northwest Missouri State University Receives National Award for Excellence and Innovation

Photo courtesy of AASCU

Northwest Missouri State University was presented with the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) at the opening session of its Annual Meeting last month in Washington, D.C. The award is named in honor of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was killed in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster, and honors institutions for excellence and innovation.

Recipients of the award have shown evidence of top-level administrative support, alignment with its institutional mission and strategic agenda, contributions to significant institutional improvements or programming, research, and incorporated best practices.

With support and resources from university leadership and PK-12 partners, Northwest Missouri State University faculty completely overhauled its Northwest School of Education. The education redesign increased students’ access to diverse clinical practice (now more than 600 total hours) in urban, rural, and suburban settings and with all learner ability levels, and has students engaged in this practice earlier—by the third week of their freshman year. Additionally, students participate in a Professional Learning Community to learn from their experiences, and the curriculum focuses on improving students’ instructional practice, lesson plans, and classroom management strategies.

“AACTE is proud of Northwest Missouri State University,” said AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone. “With a full institutional commitment from its president, provost, and dean, Northwest is an example of what colleges of education can achieve when all stakeholders are engaged in the work. Congratulations from us all at AACTE!”

Preparing outstanding educators has always been central to Northwest’s mission—from its beginnings as a state normal school at the outset of the 20th century to its role today as a comprehensive public university. Since 1906, the Horace Mann Laboratory School has been a hallmark of Northwest and its teacher training program, providing an on-campus clinical teaching environment for university students while serving local children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Additionally, early childhood programs for children age 3 through pre-kindergarten are offered at the Phyllis and Richard Leet Center for Children and Families.

Northwest also earned the McAuliffe Award in 2006, making it just the third institution in the nation to receive the award two times since its inception in 2002.

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Katrina Norfleet

Content Strategist, AACTE