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Union University named among top institutions to produce high-quality teachers

JACKSON, Tenn.Nov. 1, 2013 – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has ranked Union University among the top academic institutions to produce the most effective teachers in the state.

The 2013 Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs was released Nov. 1 by THEC in partnership with the State Board of Education. The report listed Union as having “consistently produced teachers that are outperforming other teachers in the state or are on an upward trend in effectiveness scores.”

The listing reflects positively on not only the School of Education but also the Teacher Education Program as a whole, said Thomas Rosebrough, the executive dean of the college of education and human studies.

“The report validates the work of our faculty across the university in our undergraduate and graduate programs, and of course our amazing alumni who are teaching in Tennessee," said Rosebrough, who also is a university education professor. “What is meaningful to me is that our graduates are trained to teach holistically to academic, social and emotional goals for learners. We want it all, not just higher test scores.”

Dottie Myatt, a professor of education, said the annual report card was first issued in 2009, with Race to the Top funding enabling THEC and Tennessee’s educator preparation programs to retrieve more reliable data revealing the effectiveness of graduates teaching in Tennessee.

According to the report, Union students achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching examination. The report also noted that Union teachers are as effective as veteran teachers in areas such as middle school math, reading and science.

Myatt, who also serves as the assistant dean for teacher education and accreditation, said the School of Education launched the Union University Teacher Education Initiative in 2011, through which faculty discussed how to better prepare future teachers for the classroom.

During this time, faculty made revisions to undergraduate and graduate programs while maintaining the School of Education’s fundamental values – including its strong partnership with local school systems.

“The fact that Union’s graduates are impacting learning in 21 school systems across the state, including urban, suburban and rural schools, is a testimony to the faculty in the School of Education,” Myatt said. “We firmly believe in strong support of our student teachers and interns that extends into the induction years. Couple strong faculty with outstanding students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and you have a winning combination that is benefitting P-12 students in those 21 school systems.”

As the School of Education continues to make improvements, Myatt said she anticipates that future Union graduates will be even better prepared than those evaluated in this year’s report.

Rosebrough said improvements to the curriculum have included integrated technology, data-driven assessment training, enhanced clinical experiences and "cutting-edge" degree programs.

“Our priorities have been students, standards and strategies,” he said.

Memphis Teacher Residency, the School of Education’s partner in urban education, also was listed as a top performing program, Rosebrough said. Union faculty members train teachers at the master’s level at this residency program.

Lipscomb University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville were the only other universities that achieved the same report card ranking as Union. The two teaching programs to receive this ranking in conjunction with the Memphis Teacher Residency were Teach for America Memphis and Teach for America Nashville.

The complete report card is available at www.tn.gov/thec/Divisions/fttt/13report_card_preview.shtml.

By Beth Knoll

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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