Niagara University's College of Education is playing a prominent role in a new statewide faculty development initiative affiliated with New York's Race to the Top federal program.
On April 25, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities unveiled the program, which also includes similar initiatives at City University of New York institutions and at State University of New York campuses.
The project will provide professional development for faculty in education, and arts and sciences in order to deepen understanding and fully implement the many changes in the areas of teacher and school leader certification, teacher and principal performance evaluations, data-driven instruction, clinically rich teacher and leader preparation, and the Common Core State Standards. Included in the initiative is the development and implementation of new certification examinations for initially certified teachers, including the teacher performance assessment that stems from the research of Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University. Darlington is a leading researcher in the field of education.
Partnerships with P-12 schools are also central to the changes in pre-service programs and certification regulations and will, therefore, be included in the professional development strategy.
The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities has been allocated $3 million to support its members' efforts, with all related activities to take place before June 30, 2014. The Office of the State Comptroller awarded the funds.
Dr. Debra Colley, dean of Niagara University's College of Education, has been appointed to the program's expert advisory panel, making her one of only six deans from independent institutions to sit on the panel.
"I am delighted to participate on this panel with so many well-respected leaders in higher education," Colley said. "To be selected for this role by cIcu is another testament to the exceptional high quality of Niagara University's programs in teacher and leader education."
Furthermore, NU's College of Education has been confirmed as the facilitating institution for the Western New York/Finger Lakes Region, coordinating regional communication and organization of the professional development activities within the project's framework proposed by cIcu and approved by the New York State Education Department.
"University-based, comprehensive programs have been directly involved in discussions of the continuum of ongoing professional learning," Colley added. "This statewide opportunity to elevate the impact of programs offered through the independent colleges and universities is most important as we know that our comprehensive and coordinated approach to high-quality teaching and learning has a clear impact on student growth, achievement and college and career readiness."
Additional information on the initiative is available at www.isnetworked.org.
To learn more about Niagara University's undergraduate and graduate programs in education, visit www.niagara.edu/education.