Academic journal article Education

Leadership in Teacher Preparation: The Role of the California State University

Academic journal article Education

Leadership in Teacher Preparation: The Role of the California State University

Article excerpt

The California State University (CSU) system has long played a major role in the preparation of teachers for the state's public schools. However, as the range of demands for teacher preparation in the state has evolved, so too has the role of the CSU evolved.

A decade ago, for example, the CSU sought to foster a sense of campuswide responsibility for the preparation of teachers through creation of All-University Teacher Education Committees (AUTEC) on campuses throughout the system. In 1987 the Academic Senate at San Francisco State University created such a committee in response to a CSU mandate. Its purpose was to address issues pertaining to teacher education and the teaching profession, and to develop various collaborative efforts which recognize teacher preparation as an all-university endeavor. The Committee worked to pull together faculty from all the Colleges across campus who were interested in promoting excellence in teacher preparation, teaching and learning. Although this AUTEC Committee was important to teacher preparation, it did not have the prominence or authority necessary to implement change beyond exchange of information among interested parties.

More recently, in June 1996 then-CSU Chancellor Barry Munitz signaled a considerably heightened profile for teacher education when he asked Robert C. Maxson, President of California State University at Long Beach, to lead a task force of seven CSU presidents, to be known as the "Presidents Commission," to create a forum for shaping the direction the CSU System in assuming greater responsibility for teacher preparation. Viewed in the context of the prior (and still continuing) AUTEC Committee effort, the formation of the Presidents Commission demonstrates a considerably enhanced degree of commitment to the preparation of K-12 teachers in the State of California, as it involves the chief executive officers of CSU campuses from throughout the state. The Mission Statement of the Presidents Commission contains the following words emphasizing the new importance being placed on the issue of teacher education in CSU:

"...the strengthening of K-12 education

is of critical importance and

must be a primary strategic priority

of the California State University.

We believe that the central mission

of the CSU's relationship to K-12

schools ought to be to improve the

quality of preparation programs for

school personnel .... "(1998)

The Presidents Commission, since its inception, has provided committed leadership by involving CSU campus Vice Presidents who have charged their individual campus task groups with:

a) effectively determining the needs of the teacher preparation programs;

b) collaborating with local districts to establish outstanding needs;

c) expanding the role of the campus in identifying outstanding students; and

d) making recommendations that would support meeting those needs.

This has had the practical effect of raising the profile of teacher preparation programs to a new level of importance on CSU campuses. This enhanced profile accordingly has enabled the Colleges and Schools of Education of the CSU to begin to explore new approaches to attaining excellence in teacher preparation.

An initial action of the Presidents Commission was to establish three working subcommittees. These subcommittees were:

a) the Curriculum/Assessment/Standards Subcommittee;

b) the Rewards and Resources Subcommittee; and

c) the Market Share and CSU Collaboration Subcommittee.

Each of the subcommittees was charged with conducting research on specific issues and developing recommendations.

The Presidents Commission viewed assessment as a particularly important issue. Because of this, the following particularly significant recommendations emerged from the Curriculum/Assessment/Standards Subcommittee:

1. …

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