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Two Tips to Increase Students’ Use of Office Hours

Young educator meeting with students in office

This article by AACTE Board member Jennie M. Carr and photo originally appeared in Faculty Focus and is reprinted with permission. ©Magna Publications.

I once heard a colleague explain that their office hours were intentionally scheduled from 8 am to 10 am because students are still asleep. The professor laughed, but I cringed. That thought process is so far from my teaching philosophy, which is dedicated to developing and supporting students, that the intentionality of the comment prompted me to reflect on my own process for scheduling office hours.

At the beginning of each semester, I review my teaching assignments and then create a balanced schedule based on course days and times, various committee and departmental meetings, services, and office hours. For several years, like many of my colleagues (maybe even you), I selected office hours based on

Marist’s Education Department is Investing in the Future

Students in classroom in NY
This article and photo originally appeared on the
Marist website and are reprinted with permission.

Marist’s Education Department is well known for preparing students to become effective teachers and leaders in their schools and communities. Its programs emphasize the role of research and technology and the importance of critical thinking, creative problem solving, and multicultural and global perspectives. Consistent with Marist’s commitment to being actively engaged in the community, the Department recently hosted two groups of local schoolchildren in an effort to advance two worthy goals: exposing students from underrepresented groups to a college campus and encouraging them to consider teaching as a career.

On May 20, Marist welcomed a group of 20 English as a New Language (ENL) students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades at Balmville Elementary School, a public school in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. The visit, the third in three years for students from Balmville, stems from the work of Professional Lecturer of Education Christina Wright Fields to promote the ideas of pursuing a college education and becoming a teacher. During their half-day visit to the College, the students toured the Marist campus, ate lunch, and participated in a session led by Fields and Assistant Professor of Education Mary Kelly in which they developed a storyboard from children’s literature; in past years, these faculty-led sessions have included tree identification and STEM educational hands-on activities. Notes Associate Dean for Teacher Education Edward Sullivan, “Essentially, we like to expose the Balmville grade-schoolers to various academic departments on campus to expand their knowledge base and present them with different educational possibilities. We also involve Marist education students in these visits to help the schoolchildren visualize themselves as future college students engaged in helping others to learn.”

The Story of Big Data, With All the Small Details

, Holmes Scholars at Florida Atlantic University (FAU)

BIG Data may not be “a piece of cake” but during a presentation by Charles Dukes, students and faculty noted that it can be a slice of pie. On April 11, 2019, Holmes Scholars at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) hosted a seminar, “The story of big data, with all the small details,” featuring Dukes, associate professor in the Department of Exceptional Student Education at UFA. Some 25 doctoral students and faculty, along with a Holmes Scholar from the University of Central Florida, attended the seminar with FAU’s Holmes Coordinator Rangasamy Ramasamy and Holmes Scholars Denise Dowdie, Danna Demezier, Shanett Dean, and Deborah McEwan (pictured above with Dukes). During the seminar, Dukes defined “big data” and explored how such data may be used for social science research. He also shared “big data” links that anyone can access, reviewed primary considerations for its usage, and provided an overview of a current research study with big data.   

Day on the Hill: A First-Time Attendee’s Perspective

Participants from Washington Week meeting with officials
During Washington Week 2019, I participated in AACTE Day on the Hill and advocated for the education profession for the first time. As a recent graduate of The Citadel’s school counselor program, I was eager to learn what our government is currently doing for the field of education. I also thought about what I could bring to the discussion from different perspectives. My career in education started later than most. After serving four years in the active duty Air Force, I joined the Air Force Reserve and began my master’s in school counseling. This would allow me to share my viewpoint as an educator entering the workforce, as well as a working professional from outside the education world.  

Being a new educator, the first idea I wanted to present was restructuring the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to make it easier and better fit the needs of those in the profession. Most people outside of education do not know that school counselors are required to have a master’s degree, which puts an even greater student loan burden on them. For new educators like me, informing congress that current programs are either broken or do not fit the entire education picture is important. I feel that congress may be overlooking the levels required for the different types of educator preparation.

A Look at UNCC’s Black Male Teacher Initiative, “What’s Your Impact?”

Group of UNCC Black Teacher Initiative Participants
AACTE member institution Cato College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) works to create effective solutions to the shortage of Black male teachers. Thomas Fisher, supervisor of student teaching in the Office of School and Community Partnerships, recruited four of his former students to help implement a program to engage and recruit Black male students into the teaching profession. The team visits schools and shares their story to inspire a new generation of educators in the most underrepresented demographic in teaching. 

“There’s only 2% Black male teachers in the United States,” says Timothy Wells, social studies teacher at Ridge Road Middle School, who is featured in the “What’s Your Impact?” video. “Studies show that your success increases if you have a Black male teacher or a male teacher in general from an early age.” The video spotlights Black male graduates of UNC’s Cato College of Education as they share why they pursued a teaching career. It also includes Edwin Campbell, American history teacher at Vance High School; Devin Murphy, math teacher at Myers Park High School; and Dwayne Simmons, English teacher and dean of students at Quail Hollow Middle School. Please take a few minutes to watch the video above to hear the dynamic stories of these educators.

Dana Dunwoody Named Holmes Scholar of the Month

Dana DunwoodyCongratulations to Dana Dunwoody, Holmes Scholar of the Month for June 2019! Dunwoody recently completed her dissertation defense at Boston University and will graduate in September 2019. Her dissertation research examines “Practicing Critical Coaching: Disrupting traditional youth sport coaching with social justice and critical consciousness.”

Dunwoody served as the Holmes national president from 2017–2019, and implemented many positive changes during her tenure. Prior to that, she served as Holmes Scholars sergeant-at-arms (2016-2017), and organized and planned many conferences for the Holmes community as well as her institution.

Her service also includes her work with Ultimate Peace, where she facilitated discussions with leaders in training Middle East program directors on redesigning the curriculum for youth leaders and coaches. In this role, she has led discussions with Middle East staff on the implementation of cross-cultural equity, diversity, and inclusion within coaching programs.

Upon graduation, Dunwoody plans to continue her career at Boston University with the Associate Provost’s Office of Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs. In her upcoming position, she will work collaboratively with a team of associate provosts, postdoctoral associates, and graduate assistants across two universities: Boston University and Northwestern University.

Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation TAG Awards Conference Scholarship

Community Group Meeting

The 13 people who attended the first gathering of the Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation Topical Action Group (TAG) at the 2019 AACTE Annual Meeting in Louisville deemed it a great success. TAG participants represented six national programs of teacher preparation who are all seeking to prepare socially just, equity-focused community teachers with the capacity to enact pedagogies that are culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining.

In discussing the goals and outcomes of the TAG, participants indicated a desire to curate and disseminate literature on community-engaged teacher preparation, to engage in joint research projects, and to work together to collectively articulate the benefits of community-engaged teacher preparation to a variety of audiences and constituencies.

Future plans of the TAG involve creating a Facebook page for the purposes of communication among members where they can share resources and engage in dialogue. Members will also be able to share opportunities for grants, awards, publication venues, and research tools. Finally, the members discussed ways the TAG could advocate to advance community-engaged teacher preparation as a justifiable and compelling direction for the field.

Welcome Home to Holmes

Phillandra Smith Holmes felt like home. This year was my first time attending the AACTE Holmes Scholar Summer Policy Institute and this was also the first year my university was participating in the program.

As one of the two inaugural scholars for Syracuse University, I did not know what to expect. I don’t think either of us did. I knew we were going to Capitol Hill at some point; that was clear to me. I received an outline of the days’ events and sessions, but I still felt like I lacked a point of reference for what I would encounter. To say that I had some trepidation is to put it lightly, but I tried not to let that dampen my excitement. What I did not expect however, were the feelings of validation, empowerment and sense of belonging I walked away with or the relational connections I made over the few days. I am not sure anyone could have prepared me for that. But my gratitude to my university and AACTE for this experience is immense.

My Voice Still Matters: Its Resonance Can Still Elicit Change!

Azaria Cunningham in front of the US Capital.
The first time I attended the AACTE Day on the Hill in Washington, DC, was in 2015. At that time, I was one of two in the first Holmes Masters students’ program at William Paterson University (WPU). AACTE had just begun the implementation of adding Holmes Cadets, Holmes Honors, and Holmes Masters students. Before attending the “Day on the Hill,” Holmes held a Summer Policy Institute session, and upon entering the room, I immediately felt a sense of being home. The room was comprised of Holmes Scholars who were pursuing a doctoral degree. Having the chance to be surrounded by successful scholars who looked like me increased my internal drive. Holmes Scholars influenced me to believe that I could pursue earning a doctorate degree. A critical piece of information I learned and always carry with me is that representation matters on all levels, and the ability to see oneself in spaces to enact change is monumental.

Elisabeth Valenzuela Coordinates New Regional School Partnership

This article originally appeared on the New Mexico Highlands University website and is reprinted with permission.

Elisabeth Valenzuela is the first coordinator for the Regional School Partnership, a collaboration among Pojoaque Valley Public Schools, Los Alamos National Laboratory and New Mexico Highlands University that aims to support improved teaching and learning.

The innovative partnership, launched in October 2018, is the first of its kind in New Mexico to combine a school district, a major employer and a university teacher education program. It focuses on increasing success for youth in grades 4 through 8.

“The clinical residency program is the most exciting element of this new partnership,” Valenzuela said. “Pre-service teachers who are students in the Highlands School of Education will spend their junior and senior years working three days a week co-teaching a classroom in Pojoaque schools. These college students will work under the mentorship of a highly qualified teacher.”

Valenzuela said Los Alamos National Laboratory has a history of working with Northern New Mexico school districts to improve teaching and learning.

Teacher Professional Identity and Learner Engagement

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Can there be something within a teacher’s professional identity that enables them to better engage their students? If so, what are some ways an educator can shape their professional identity to more effectively engage their students in content and skill development?

Education researchers (Salli & Osam, 2018) suggest that a teacher’s professional identity is a balance between both teaching strategies and the teacher’s interactions with students. A person’s identity is made up of several unique perspectives (I-positions), working both separately and in harmony with one another to effect one’s decisions and actions in a given situation (Meijers & Hermans, 2018). I-positions are made up of a person’s past experiences, and each I-position then assumes a role within the person’s identity. When a person encounters a new situation, several I-positions may be activated at the same time and through dialogic interaction, either collaborate or form tension with each other in order for the person to make a decision and act within that situation.

The collaboration and tension among I-positions is where a person’s identity is formed or grows.

Mentor Teachers Honored for Vital Role in U of A Educator Prep Program

This article originally appeared on the University of Arkansas website and is reprinted with permission.

Three University of Arkansas teacher candidates recently surprised their public school mentor teachers with banners lauding them as a Mentor Teacher of the Year for 2018-19.

U of A students in the teacher-education program spend either a full semester or year as interns in public schools across Northwest Arkansas for hands-on training before they have their own classrooms to manage.

“The internship is the most crucial aspect of our teacher preparation programs and mentor teachers are the lifeblood of the experience,” said Jake Ayo, director of field placement for the Office of Teacher Education in the College of Education and Health Professions. “They go above and beyond in an already demanding profession as they pour their time and energy into crafting our interns into teacher leaders.”

Being paired with a great mentor educator in local schools is vital to a student teacher’s success. Every year, public school teachers are named Mentor Teacher of the Year and are chosen based on their U of A intern’s nomination. The university recognizes the teachers who demonstrate a positive impact on teacher candidates’ development and P-12 student learning and development.

Georgia Southern and Haven Elementary Partner for Educator Program

This article originally appeared on the Georgia Southern University website and is reprinted with permission.

Georgia Southern University and Haven Elementary School are partnering to offer teachers a Gratifying Problem-Solving (GPS) program, which will provide educators unique monthly professional development based on the school’s current need for improved mathematics instruction.

The College of Education’s Jackie Kim, associate professor of elementary and special education, serves as director for the project, totaling $74,976, which is funded by a Community Partnership Grant from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

The GPS program uses a bottom-up approach, allowing the participants at Haven Elementary to help shape its development, workshop activities and directive.

“We go to find out what their inquiries and needs are and create a workshop based on the assessment,” said Kim. “We want to start with what they are currently doing in the classroom and change their practice to make instruction stronger yet doable.”

Higher Education Equity: Learning Experiences Via Multiple Pathways


The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Teacher educators love to talk. We lecture, provide oral directions, read passages aloud, ask countless questions, and verbally redirect. In addition to the auditory quality of teaching, we have also mastered the visual. Anchor charts, word walls, and mnemonic device posters are endemic in teacher preparation classrooms today as we dutifully prepare the next generation of teachers. Graphic organizers, mind maps, color-coding, and visual aids are also ubiquitous. In the never-ending struggle to meet the needs of all learners, the partiality toward auditory and visual aspects of teaching is biased against students (both adult learner and their future PK-12 students) who do not prefer to learn within those modalities.

Carlos D. Richardson Named Scholar of the Month

Congratulations to Carlos D. Richardson, Holmes Scholar of the Month for May 2019!  Richardson is currently a doctoral candidate at Bowie State University in Bowie, MD. His dissertation research examines “Factors that Influence Black Girls Participation in STEM.  Richardson served as Holmes Scholars Council historian 2016-2017 and Holmes Scholar Council vice president 2017-2019, where he was influential in advocating for students from underrepresented populations. 

Richardson teaches social studies at Friendship Collegiate Academy, an urban high school located in Washington, DC. He has served in a variety of roles over the years, including being a social studies subject area supervisor, extended learning coordinator, lead teacher, summer school principal and more. For the last 8 years, Richardson has also served as the coordinator of the Summer Enrichment Program, where students participate in over 16 extended learning programs that also serve as their summer job and receive pay as part of the Washington, DC Summer Youth Employment Program. Under Richardson’s leadership, the program has twice been named most outstanding school-led summer program by the Washington, DC Department of Employment Services.

In 2014, Richardson was named the Friendship Public Charter Schools Teacher of the Year, as well as being named the 2014 Washington, DC Public Charter Schools Teacher of the Year. Upon graduation, he plans to continue his career in the K-12 education system.

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