Teacher-education center established
By Sandy Broughton
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 27 - April 9, 1998
The College of Human Resources and Education at Virginia Tech recently announced the establishment of the new Center for Teacher Education.
The Center for Teacher Education has been formed to give visibility and focus to the university's programs and research in teacher education and preparation, and to provide leadership in university connections with K-12 schools. The center will also be a source of information about licensure and endorsement in education fields and will serve as the university's liaison to the Virginia State Department of Education and national accrediting bodies.
Patricia Kelly, a faculty member in the Department of Teaching and Learning, is the director of the new center. She has been a member of the Tech faculty since 1977, has done research in the field of reading and writing pedagogy, has published extensively on the student-teaching experience, and has coordinated innovative teacher-education programs such as the Southwest Virginia Writing Project.
Kelly spent 17 years as a classroom teacher before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech. "It's wonderful to have the opportunity to serve the university and teachers together," she told a multi-disciplinary group of faculty members and administrators at the March 24 kick-off meeting for the new center.
Each year between 250 and 300 students at Virginia Tech obtain teacher certification through teacher-education programs in the College of Human Resources and Education. Education majors are not the only students at Virginia Tech who go into the teaching profession. In fact, the majority of students who obtain teacher certification at Virginia Tech get their degrees in such subject areas as physics, child development, mathematics, economics, English, agriculture, or music, making teacher education a university-wide concern.
Tech's teacher-education programs offer field-based research and learning and student-teaching experiences that give students the opportunity to work with education professionals and participate in collaborative projects with public schools. The Teacher Education Center will coordinate these academic activities.
The new Teacher Education Center will also coordinate Virginia Tech's K-12 initiatives throughout the university. K-12 programs sponsored by or in conjunction with the university are becoming increasingly important in the preparation and recruitment of students and the improvement of public education. "K-12 is the next frontier where we can make a difference," said Robert C. Bates, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "New technologies are allowing us to be involved in ways we hadn't envisioned before, to prepare students for a global future. We need this center to work across lines of academic affiliations, to work together in different combinations."
"There are so many activities in diverse locations on campus," said Janet Johnson, dean of the College of Human Resources and Education. "Through the center, we'd like to promote collaboration on university partnerships with K-12 education. As is evidenced in Virginia Tech's Academic Agenda, the university is committed to K-12 schools. The center will be a vehicle to bring together our efforts."
Though based in and coordinated by the College of Human Resources and Education, the Teacher Education Center is intended to be inclusive of the entire university and education community. "Anyone with an interest in teacher education is welcome to work with the center," Kelly said. "We are seeking input from both the university and K-12 on how to best serve the faculty, students, schools, and the profession of education."
The center is currently putting together a mailing list of interested people and plans future open meetings at which opportunities to work together will be discussed. For more information, contact Kelly, director of the Virginia Tech Center for Teacher Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.