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how long they last in their new profession. And the fellowship
program as a whole will be evaluated on its success in bringing
change to teaching and teacher education.
It was in hopes of improving on the U.S. Department of
Education’s depressing statistic that half of all U.S. teachers
leave the profession within five years of entering it that the
foundationmade closely supervised clinical work a must in
the fellows’ programs. Research has linked lack of supervision
to teacher burnout as well as low student achievement, a
point underscored by a policy brief issued inMarch by the
800-member American Association of Colleges for Teacher
Education (AACTE).
Cummings credits her program for doing “a great job of
immersing us in schools fromday one.” And she considers
herself ready to teach until she retires.
Devlin, who said he spent the year between his college
graduation and his fellowship living in his van and pondering
his future, is also into teaching for the long term. “This is the
first time I knowwhat I want to do withmy life,” he said.
The fellowship has been a learning experience not just for
the fellows but also for the three universities that took themon,
and they are changing their other teacher-education programs
accordingly. “It has reinforced our move tomore site-based
junior-year methods classes for elementary and secondary
programs,” said KathyMoran, dean of the University of
Indianapolis’ School of Education. “It has allowed the
traditional faculty to think outside traditional models.”
IUPUI will addmore mentoring to its Transition to
Teaching program, having learned from the fellowship how
valuable that is, said Patricia Rogan, dean of the university’s
School of Education.
Purdue has been encouraged to increase the clinical
content of its secondary education program, said Sidney
Moon, an associate dean of education.
Levine said he has heard from still other colleges and
universities that have learned about the
fellowship, and are adding elements of it to their
teaching degrees.
Daniels has been so impressed that he
is talking about expanding the Indiana
fellowships to history and perhaps special
education. Math and science are just “the place
to start, not to stop,” he said.
Levine’s strategy is to proceed state by state,
as, one by one, they find the money and the
structure to support their own fellowships.
Earlier this year, the foundation announced
that Ohio andMichigan will be next up. The
W.K. Kellogg Foundation has pledged $16.7
million to the fellowships inMichigan, where
the foundation has chosen as its partners the
University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Eastern
Michigan University, WesternMichigan University, Grand
Valley State University andWayne State University.
In Ohio, financing is coming from a combination of
state and foundation funds, and fellowship sites will be Ohio
State University, the University of Cincinnati, John Carroll
University and the University of Akron.
The two new states will welcome their first fellowship
classes for the 2011-12 school year.
Levine happily did some elementary school math: Add 20
more fellows fromBall State University beginning next school
year, and Indiana will be producing 80WoodrowWilson
teachers, increasing the state’s total supply of secondary science
andmath teachers every year by 20 percent. InMichigan,
six universities times 20 fellows each equals 120 fellowship
graduates a year—enough to fill all of the math and science
vacancies in Kalamazoo, Detroit, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor
and Grand Rapids. “Extraordinary!” he exclaimed.
Still, Levine presses enthusiastically on. He’s in
conversations with several other states (no names, please!)
about possibly startingWoodrowWilson Teaching Fellowship
programs of their own. And yes, he said, his goal is to spread
the fellowships to all 50 states. To that end, he sees spreading
the word—getting attention for the fellowships from the media,
policymakers and practitioners—as a major part of his job.
He has succeeded in getting notice in some influential
and high places. In its March policy brief, AACTE cited the
WoodrowWilson teaching fellowship as one of five “clinical
preparation programs that are emerging as potential models.”
The brief said the programs are “based on the best research
and professional judgment,” are “innovative and inspiring,” and
hold “great promise for success.” Unlike theWoodrowWilson
model, each of the other four programs is offered exclusively at
the college or university that created it.
The highest notice of all has come fromno less than
the nation’s influencer-in-chief. In January, announcing his
Educate to Innovate campaign, aimed at getting more U.S.
students to study and excel inmath and science, President
Barack Obama lauded theWoodrowWilson teaching
fellowships as an example of “several new partnerships
launched that will helpmeet our goal of moving American
students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and
math achievement over the next decade.”
u
Susan C. Thomson is a former higher education reporter for
the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
.
Levine presses
enthusiastically
on. His goal
is to spread
the Woodrow
Wilson Teaching
Fellowship program
to all 50 states.
Ed Kassig, a high school biology teacher, says the fellows he
mentored stood out among the student teachers he has had in
his 36 years of teaching.
Susan Thomson for CrossTalk