WASHINGTON, DC—Two public universities have been honored for
leadership and innovation in teacher education. Towson University (Md.)
and Western Kentucky University have been named the 2008 recipients of
the Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education by the
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
The purpose of the award is two fold: To recognize excellence in
teacher education programs and to advance the field of teacher education
by identifying promising practices and critical issues related to
measuring the impact of programs on teacher candidate knowledge and the
impact of these teachers on pupil learning.
In announcing the awards, AASCU President Constantine W. (Deno)
Curris said, “Many of our teacher education programs are doing
outstanding jobs. We want to recognize the best among those programs.”
The 2008 Christa McAuliffe awardees and the programs for which they are being recognized are as follows:
Towson University is being recognized for its
Professional Development School Network. Through outreach to 115 school
sites in metropolitan Baltimore, the network seeks to facilitate
learning of P-12 students and improve the skills of inservice and
“While Towson University is a Metropolitan University with outreach
programs and partnerships with all segments of our region’s economy, we
are proud of our roots as a normal school,” says Robert L. Caret,
president of Towson University. “With a heritage of preparing teachers
who shaped generations of students, we have leveraged that dedication to
effect significant impacts beyond classrooms, beyond school systems’
administrative offices, and straight to the core development of many
Maryland citizens. We are honored to have our history, our current
achievements, and our aspirations for quality educators recognized
through the Christa McAuliffe Award.”
Western Kentucky University (WKU) is being
recognized for its Teacher Education Preparation Programs and its
groundbreaking work developing and utilizing Teacher Work Sample data.
Their unique program utilizes the Kentucky Core Content standards and
reports P-12 student progress based on assessment aligned to those
"We are thrilled to be recognized nationally for our education
preparation programs, which are at the very core of our institutional
beginning as a teacher's college,” says WKU president Gary Ransdell.
“At WKU, we strive to graduate leaders in education. These leaders,
whether in the classroom, school office or the central office, are
responsible for one of the most important economic development tools
available—the education of our children. Having our programs associated
with such a prestigious national honor is a further testament to the
exceptional experience our faculty and staff all across WKU provide for
George L. Mehaffy, AASCU's vice president for Academic Leadership and
Change, and whose division oversees the award process, said, "The
Christa McAuliffe Award challenges teacher education programs to
demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs, an incredibly difficult
task. Yet these two award winners have made striking progress in
demonstrating the impact of their program on graduates and the impact of
those graduates on K-12 students.
"Through this award, these nationally-selected programs offer
innovative leadership in the continuing redesign and improvement of
teacher education," he said. "The proposals we received demonstrate that
AASCU institutions are committed to placing highly trained and fully
qualified teachers in America's classrooms."
AASCU’s Christa McAuliffe award, named in honor of the teacher who
died in the 1986 Challenger disaster, was first presented in the 1980s.
McAuliffe was a graduate of Framingham State College (Mass.) and Bowie
State University (Md.), both AASCU members. In 2001 the AASCU Board of
Directors authorized a change in focus for the award—an emphasis on
honoring programs that could document the success of their graduates and
their impact on the pupils that they teach.
AASCU institutions prepare more than 50 percent of all new teachers
in the United States. Curris noted, “AASCU members are working to
increase both the quantity and quality of teachers for America’s
classrooms.“ AASCU will present the award at its 2008 Annual Meeting
scheduled for November 22-25 in Williamsburg, Virginia.
AASCU is the leadership association of 420 public colleges and
universities Delivering America’s Promise through their common
commitments to access, affordability and educational
opportunity. Enrolling more than 3 million students, these institutions
fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the
public good through education, stewardship and engagement, thereby
improving the lives of people in their community, their region and their