College of Education

WOU teacher education program earns national recognition

MONMOUTH – 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), in recognition of exemplary performance in teacher education.

christa mcauliffe award presentation

Dr. Kent Neely, Provost, and Dr. Hilda Rosselli, Dean of the College of Education, accept this award.

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.

Hilda Rosselli, Dean of the College of Education, said, “Receiving this prestigious award is a tremendous honor for our students, faculty, staff and the schools that partner with Western Oregon University to prepare and support highly effective educators. This recognition strengthens our desire to continue refining our programs and services to better support teachers who can help students succeed. “

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.”

Oregon University System Chancellor, George Pernsteiner, said, “On behalf of the OUS and the Board of Higher Education, we would like to extend our congratulations to WOU for this prestigious award from the AASCU. We commend their leadership, faculty, and their students for striving always for the highest quality and innovation in their teacher education programs.”

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.

About WOU’s teacher education program
For the last 56 years, WOU’s teacher preparation programs have maintained national accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Between 1999 and 2009, over 3,000 WOU graduates were hired as educators in Oregon among 168 school districts. In 2005, the College of Education was one of 30 institutions selected to be part of the Carnegie Corporation’s Teachers for a New Era Learning Network around best practices in teacher education. Also, WOU’s undergraduate program was one of only 10 to receive national recognition through the National Council on Teacher Quality’s report on teacher preparation programs that prepare elementary school teachers to teach math.

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.

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interview contacts:

Hilda Rosselli
Dean, College of Education
503-838-8471 or

Jennifer Herrera
American Association of State Colleges and Universities
202-478-4665 or

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