Lipscomb University receives state grant for innovation in educator preparation

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Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently announced that Lipscomb University’s College of Education is one of four educator preparation providers (EPPs) that have been awarded grants to design new strategies that will support the development of a diverse educator workforce, increase production of educators in high-demand licensure areas, and promote collaboration to improve educator preparation in literacy.

“In order to meet our goals as a state, we must ensure that all students have access to highly effective educators every day, in every classroom,” said McQueen. “Each region of our state is unique, and these grants will allow our educator preparation providers to meet the unique needs of the districts and schools in their backyards through innovative practices. This freedom to try something new will benefit our students by building a stronger educator workforce.”

Lipscomb’s grant is in the area of teacher effectiveness.

“This grant will allow Lipscomb to collaborate with Metro Nashville Public Schools to enhance the effectiveness of literacy instruction in novice teachers' classrooms with the goal to both serve and learn” said Deborah Boyd, dean of the Lipscomb University College of Education. “Literacy is the foundation of student success, and we welcome this opportunity to help new teachers increase their effectiveness in literacy.”

JE Moss_4Funded by the grant, the Teachers as Writers program will empower novice teachers to see themselves as confident, capable, and creative writers.

“Through collaborative professional learning and authentic writing experiences, novice educators will be provided with opportunities to practice their writing skills and increase their motivation to write,” said Ally Hauptman, assistant professor of education at and lead faculty for the instructional practice program at Lipscomb and grant program director. “Ultimately, the teachers will take the ideas and strategies they have practiced as writers into their own writing classrooms.”

Also facilitating the grant from the Lipscomb College of Education are Michelle Hasty, assistant professor and lead faculty for the instructional coaching program, and Melanie Maxwell, lead faculty member for the reading specialty program and assistant professor.

This grant will provide an avenue for College of Education experts to continue their work with literacy and MNPS. This past summer, for the second time, the Tennessee State Department of Education turned to Lipscomb’s College of Education to take a leading role and train more than 2,000 teachers statewide in its literacy campaign, Read to be Ready. Lipscomb faculty were hired in 2016 to train more than 140 educators selected to conduct 20 summer literacy camps at their schools, as part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Read to be Ready initiative that was funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The summer camps involved more than 600 students last year at 20 sites across the state. After the success last year, the State Department of Human Services provided a $30 million grant to host up to 350 literacy camps this year impacting up to 10,000 students, and once again education professors Ally Hauptman, Michelle Hasty, and Julie Simone were hired to share their expertise on how to motivate young students to read using research-based best practices for about 2,500 camp coordinators statewide.

In April, the Tennessee Department of Education released a report, “Preparation Through Partnership,” which examined the teacher supply and demand in Tennessee. The report concluded that over the next ten years, there is a projected shortfall of Tennessee educators, specifically in certain subject areas, district types, and demographic categories of teachers.

JE Moss grant_thumbTo encourage the development of innovative practices to support these specific needs, the department created the Tennessee Innovation in Preparation (TIP) grant. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam proposed the funding for the program in the 2017-18 budget approved by the General Assembly.

All approved EPPs in the state were eligible to apply for these one-time grants to develop innovative practices in each of the following areas:

  • Increasing the diversity (racial, ethnic, gender) of teacher preparation candidates to better reflect the student population of Tennessee’s public schools
  • Recruiting and preparing candidates in a high-needs area
  • Improving programming to increase the effectiveness of educators in literacy

Out of 18 proposals received from 12 EPPs across the state, four were selected for funding, each receiving around $50,000. The following EPPs were selected to receive TIP grants in their noted area:

  • Austin Peay State University: Teacher Demand
  • Tennessee State University: Teacher Demand
  • The University of Tennessee at Martin: Teacher Diversity
  • Lipscomb University: Teacher Effectiveness

The TIP grants are one of a number of strategies aimed at addressing Tennessee’s projected educator shortfall. The department has collaborated with other state entities, including the State Board of Education and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, to align teacher preparation efforts and increase the number of highly-skilled educators entering the workforce. Details about each of the selected proposals will be forthcoming on the department’s website.

JE Moss_7Lipscomb’s College of Education is a leader in teacher preparation. In May the Lipscomb University College of Education’s secondary education teacher preparation program was once again ranked one of the top in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality in its newly released ratings for 717 undergraduate programs that prepare high school teachers. The nationwide study names Lipscomb University as one of only 16 programs in the nation designated a “Top Tier” institution and one of only six programs in the country ranked in the 99th percentile. Lipscomb was the only university in Tennessee to receive the “Top Tier” designation. 

In 2016, for the sixth year in a row, the College of Education was recognized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission as one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in the state, listed among only five programs in the state. Lipscomb was also recognized as one of the two largest teacher preparation programs among all private universities in the state. 

In addition, Lipscomb University recently received a two-year Diversity in Teaching grant from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to help increase diversity in Nashville's public schools. With funding provided by the grant, Lipscomb's College of Education will partner with MNPS to recruit eight educational assistants working in Nashville's public school system to enroll in Lipscomb, complete a teaching licensure program and transition to fully licensed teaching positions. In addition, the grant will allow Lipscomb to also train four in-service MNPS minority teachers in mentor coaching, who will in turn mentor the eight educational assistants who complete licensure through Lipscomb as well as to mentor future minority teacher candidates.

The Lipscomb University College of Education’s secondary teacher preparation program shared the No. 1 ranking in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality in its 2014 Teacher Prep Review. The college’s graduate program in the elementary grades was named No. 14 in the nation. In 2015, the College of Education was ranked the No. 15 best value in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In addition, the college was ranked among NCTQ's 35 "Top Colleges for Content Preparation" in the nation. The College of Education was named the 2016 Model of Excellence in Partnerships by the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.

Want to know more about Lipscomb University’s College of Education? Visit