Washington Week Viewpoint: Why State Leaders Institute?
Beth Kubitskey, ACSR Midwest Region representative and president of the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, recently shared her experience as a State Leaders Institute attendee and what she’s looking forward to at this year’s virtual event during Washington Week.
Why do you believe it is important for AACTE members to actively advocate for education?
One of the reasons I think it is vital for AACTE members to advocate for education is because we are the experts. Still, often we are so busy doing the work that we do, we have to remind ourselves that we need to be proactive, not reactive. Often by the time we finally receive word on a bill, law, or state policy, it has already moved through many processes.
And so, we are not aware of those kinds of things before they get to far down the road, and we lose our opportunity to have an impact. There are multiple examples of where we are more likely to succeed if we can get that information early and be proactive.
Attending the AACTE State Leaders Institute provides you with the tools to understand what to do to be proactive rather than reactive and, as a group, have that voice. Then you become the place that people will turn to when they are looking for information.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s State Leaders Institute?
For me, the State Leaders Institute provides an opportunity to hear what other people are doing and develop those relationships. The work that some of us do in leadership roles can be isolating. Those partnerships that we have across institutions and states turn out to be some of the places where we can move forward and work on our own professional development.
What can attendees expect at the State Leaders Institute?
Although it is virtual this year, developing these kinds of relationships and partnerships becomes critical. People can expect to leave with skills and learn different techniques to succeed when working as an institution or working as an AACTE representative. They’ll also be able to develop those cross-state relationships and bring those back to their local states.
Does the State Leaders Institute provide insight into what state legislation trends affect teacher preparation programs and what members can do to get involved?
One beneficial thing about the State Leader Institute and the later communications that one gets through AACTE is learning how to look for what’s coming concerning policies at the national and the state level. Then you are able to know what to do with that information to influence policy. That is one of the specific reasons for the work we do with the State Leader Institute.
What are the benefits of the State Affiliate Awards?
The State Affiliate Awards provide financial resources for state AACTE’s to do innovative activities and programming that they otherwise may not be able to do. Some also allow for cross-state collaborations. So, if you have ideas you would like to try, these awards allow for that so that and for groups to work together to promote what’s important to educator preparation programs across states.
Beth Kubitskey, Ph.D., is dean, School of Education and Human Services, University of Michigan- Flint.