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SUNY To Vote June 19 on Sweeping Education Curriculum Reform; Academic Standards Committee Reviews Comprehensive Package Which Also Calls for Establishment of New Urban Teacher Education Centers.

Education Editors

ALBANY, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 13, 2001

State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Robert L. King yesterday recommended sweeping reform of the university's teacher education curriculum.

The program, titled "A New Vision in Teacher Education," is designed to provide future teachers with comprehensive training in their core subjects and practical tools to succeed in the statewide job market. The program is also designed to alleviate New York State's growing teacher shortage; SUNY is the largest system provider of certified teachers in the state.

The plan was introduced during a session of the university's Academic Standards Committee and is the result of an 18-month study by SUNY Provost Peter Salins and campus presidents and faculty from all 16 SUNY campuses offering teacher education (Albany, Binghamton, Brockport, Buffalo, Cornell, Cortland, Fredonia, Geneseo, New Paltz, Old Westbury, Oneonta, Oswego, Plattsburgh, Potsdam, Stony Brook and the University of Buffalo). The State University Board of Trustees will vote on the package at its June 19 meeting. SUNY's recommendations are consistent with or go substantially beyond changes in New York state education policy, and the plan builds on existing strengths within the university and establishes key strategic enhancements.

"We are making these changes from a position of strength," said King. "Already 95 percent of our graduates pass the state teacher certification examination - far more than the majority of other institutions. But we want to be better and meet the critical needs of the State of New York."

The nation's largest public comprehensive system of higher education, SUNY is responding to a statewide need to more effectively meet the educational challenges of the state's urban schools, according to SUNY officials. The study that led to the recommendations assessed research on teacher education nationally and studies by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. The new reform initiative:
-- Assures that students are thoroughly grounded in the subjects they teach,
nearly doubling the student teaching called for in state regulations and
requiring prospective secondary school teachers to major in the academic
subject they will teach and prospective elementary and middle school teachers
to complete an approved major or concentration in an academic subject they will
be teaching;

-- Guarantees that every graduate of SUNY's teacher education programs is fully
prepared to assume responsibility as a teacher in the area of his or her
certification (and will fund, during the candidate's first two years of
teaching, further education if needed);

-- Assures that students must have completed integrated programs of clinical
and pedagogical education that give them the skills to make their own K-12
students successful learners;

-- Makes it easier for more SUNY community college graduates, working
professionals and other educated adults to become teachers;

-- Prepares more SUNY students to teach high-need subjects such as math,
science, special education and languages;

-- Establishes a SUNY Urban Teacher Education Center (SUTEC) in New York City
(and eventually, upstate cities) and encourages graduates to take jobs in
high-need urban school districts.

Sixteen of the 64 SUNY campuses graduate 6,000 education students every year, nearly 25 percent of the teachers certified each year in New York State. "As education reform continues to evolve, teacher preparation needs to evolve with it, and this initiative keeps us aligned and ahead of New York State's teaching needs," said Dr. Salins.

The planned SUNY Urban Teacher Education Centers are a proactive move to increase the number of qualified teachers who are trained, hired and retained to work in city schools. SUNY officials say the planned center's primary goal will be to assist SUNY campuses and the New York City schools in placing and supervising student teachers, eventually serving as a model for future centers across the state. The center will offer a series of new initiatives in urban education ranging from curriculum development to faculty exchanges and the establishment of professional development schools in New York City.

"The reform package contains three critical goals that I believe will guarantee the State University of New York remains one of the top teacher preparation systems in the country," King continued. "These goals are: assuring that all SUNY students entering teaching careers remain superbly prepared, resolving the state's growing teacher shortage, and continuing to accurately assess and improve SUNY's teacher education program."

To alleviate the looming teacher shortage, the plan will make it possible for well-educated working professionals interested in a career change to become teachers through new rigorous, but expedited, programs. The reform plan also better aligns community college programs with university teacher education programs, allowing students to seamlessly progress through the SUNY system.

SUNY officials note that the new program will make student-teaching experience at the graduate level more intensive, with more time required in the classroom and enhanced supervision by SUNY faculty.

The State University of New York is a unified statewide system of 64 campuses, committed to serving New York with pride and academic excellence. It includes 30 community colleges, five residential campuses that comprise the University Colleges of Technology, five specialized colleges, five partnership colleges, 13 arts and sciences colleges, four research universities and two academic health centers. The nation's largest comprehensive system of higher education, the State University enrolls 373,000 students and employs more than 75,000 faculty, administration and staff.

For more information or to arrange interviews with SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King or SUNY Provost Peter Salins please contact Dave Ferguson, 518-443-5887 Anne Isenhower, 212-453-2212
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 13, 2001
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