Western Oregon University focused on teacher education and preparation for decades and has been known as a teacher’s school. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has grown into the equal of the College of Education in academic caliber and prestige. While the arts and sciences have continued to grow, education remains a critical component of campus. This is demonstrated through awards and recognitions, such as the Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) bestowed this upon WOU’s College of Education for exemplary performance in teacher education.
“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.”
Hilda Rosselli, Dean, College of Education
Pictured above: President Jon Minahan presents the 2010 Christa Mcauliffe Award to Dean Hilda Rosselli, Meredith Brodsky, and Mark Girod.
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.
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 Jolanda M.Westerhof, who oversees the award process and is the director of teacher education for the AASCU.
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.
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.