News Release from AASCU


Contact: Jennifer Herrera (202) 478-4665


WASHINGTON, D.C.— In recognition of outstanding leadership in teacher education, Western Oregon University (WOU) has been named the 2010 recipient 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.
A number of years ago, Western Oregon University created the Teacher Work Sample, a performance assessment used in WOU programs to document candidates’ ability to assess, plan and instruct in a standards-based educational system and impact P-12 student learning in a positive manner.

Western Oregon University’s latest teacher education innovation is the development of the Learning Gains Aggregator. This instrument promises to enrich the Teacher Work Sample process by documenting and aggregating P-12 student learning gains in ways that allow institutions to study the effectiveness of various approaches to teacher education.

Jolanda M. Westerhof, AASCU's director of teacher education, whose office oversees the award process, said, “The Christa McAuliffe Award recognizes exemplary models of teacher preparation that link professional training to pupil learning outcomes. This year, Western Oregon University has provided a model for measuring the impact of teacher preparation on P-12 student learning.  We think this new instrument will help other teacher educators as they reshape their professional preparation programs to meet the needs of 21st century students.”

The national award, created in 1987, was named in honor of the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe, who died in the 1986 Challenger disaster.  McAuliffe received her bachelor’s degree from Framingham State College (Mass.) and her master’s degree from Bowie State University (Md.), both AASCU members. 

“AASCU institutions prepare more than half of all teachers licensed to teach each year in the United States, and teacher education continues to be a critical concern for member institutions and the association,” said Westerhof. The 2010 Christa McAuliffe Award will be presented during AASCU’s 2010 Annual Meeting on Monday, November 22, in Charleston, S.C.


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 state.