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Excellence in Education Conference honors innovative programs

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 10 - October 31, 1996

Gary D. Fenstermacher, professor of educational studies at the University of Michigan, will be the keynote speaker for the thirteenth annual Excellence in Education Conference on November 7 and 8.

Fenstermacher's address will be Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Donaldson Brown Center auditorium. Fenstermacher, a noted scholar who has published extensively in the area of educational policy and schooling in the United States, will speak on "Using Schools to Kill Democracy in America," which will include a discussion of the current school-voucher, charter-school, and privatization movements. The public is invited to attend, free of charge. Presentation of award-winning programs and exhibits will be held from 8 a.m. until noon the following morning, Friday, Nov. 8, in Donaldson Brown. Reservations for the awards luncheon can be made through the Donaldson Brown Center.

Fenstermacher's address at the Excellence in Education Conference marks a return to Virginia Tech, where he was a faculty member in the College of Education from 1977 to 1985, chair of the graduate program in educational foundations from 1977 to 1982, and director of Tech's Northern Virginia Graduate Center from 1982 to 1985.

Fenstermacher left Virginia Tech to become dean of the College of Education at the University of Arizona, a position he held from 1985 to 1991. He remained on the University of Arizona faculty until 1996 when he became a professor of educational studies at the University of Michigan's School of Education last summer.

Fenstermacher is past-president (1992) of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the largest association of education colleges in the world. Since 1992, Fenstermacher has been senior associate in the University of Washington's Center for Educational Renewal, and senior fellow in the Seattle-based Institute for Educational Inquiry, both organizations dedicated to the realization of the school and university reform initiatives proposed by John I. Goodlad.

Since its inception in 1983, the Excellence in Education Awards Conference has recognized innovative approaches to teaching and learning in Virginia's public schools and community colleges. The Awards Conference, presented annually by the College of Human Resources and Education (CHRE), has become a forum in which public-school educators from throughout the commonwealth gather to present ideas and exchange information with Tech professors.

Selection of award winners is highly competitive. This year, 99 programs competed. Twelve award winners and 15 certificate-of-recognition recipients were chosen. Among the award winners is the Community Design Assistance Center at Virginia Tech which has teamed with William Fleming Magnet School in Roanoke for "Community Design Practicum: Outreach for Community Restoration." The program targets "at-risk" and minority youth in inner cities and rural communities of Southwest Virginia who stand to benefit from exposure to higher education and professional career opportunities through involvement in design-related community service projects. The first project is directed at a segment of the Roanoke Greenway project in Roanoke.

For the second year, the Excellence in Education conference will include the World of Work awards, presented by the Blue Ridge Training and Education Council in recognition of teachers with an exceptional ability to create an educational experience that uses real-world applications.

Entrants are judged on the integration of academic, technical, and career education in preparing students for the workforce and enhancing the education and economic development potential of the Blue Ridge Region of Virginia. Ten Virginia public school educators will receive awards.

For more information, call the CHRE at 1-5056.