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UCR Graduate School of Education awarded federal grant for teacher education

UCR Graduate School of Education awarded federal grant for teacher education

(October 11, 2000)

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $335,000 grant to the University of California, Riverside to support a training program that gets teachers quickly into classrooms and guides them through their first two years on the job.

The three-year grant, which took effect Oct. 1, also will allow students in the program to work toward their master's degrees. The six-year program will mesh undergraduate education classes into the student's major. It will provide faculty mentors who track newly minted teachers through their first two years of work, and will offer help and assessment for the new teacher.

The grant, awarded by the federal Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), is highly competitive. The UCR program is one of the 111 applicants funded from a pool of 2,002 this year.

With the urgent need for more teachers in the K-12 grades statewide, the trend in teacher education is toward decreasing preparation time to increase quantity, said Judith Sandholtz, assistant professor of education at UCR, who co-authored of the grant proposal with Professor Emeritus Dan Donlan and Athena Waite, director of teacher education. The federally-supported UCR program seeks to get teachers into the classroom quickly but does not compromise preparation time, which will increase.

"We're looking at developing teacher leaders, not just teachers " said Athena Waite, director of teacher education in the School of Education at UCR.

The goal is to start early with undergraduate students, develop commitments to teaching, and train more competent teachers who will remain in the profession, she added.

The three-part UCR training plan begins with freshmen who think they may want to become teachers. They will take education foundation courses while they pursue a non-education major, Waite said. The first phase concludes with the student working a stint as a substitute teacher.

The second phase begins after graduation, in the fifth year, where students will get their first jobs as intern teachers. Students will report to mentors at UCR and at their schools, and they will receive help and regular evaluations. They will also take classes toward a master's degree in education.

The third phase, in the sixth year, comprises the student's second year of teaching with UCR and the school district working together to support the new teacher's needs and assess his or her performance.

The program will work in concert with undergraduate programs throughout UCR, with the ALPHA Center -- an education resource and research center on campus -- and with K-12 and community college districts in the area.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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