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Teacher prep program named one of four best in nation

Kim Chaudoin | 

Click here to read front page Tennessean news coverage about the report.

US News & World Report releases NCTQ teacher prep ratings

For decades, Lipscomb University has had a reputation for producing teachers who are leaders in their schools and who prepare their students for academic success. Now that reputation is known nationally.

The Lipscomb University College of Education’s teacher preparation program was named one of the top four in the nation, along with Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Furman universities, in a National Council of Teacher Quality’s Teacher Prep Review released June 18.

Lipscomb’s undergraduate secondary teacher prep program received a four-star ranking, the highest ranking awarded in the review. This is the first edition of the review, which evaluated more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country that prepare elementary and secondary teachers. According to the NCTQ website, the report is a consumer tool that allows “aspiring teachers, parents and school districts to compare programs and determine which are doing the best — and worst — job of training new teachers.”

In addition to a four-star overall program rating, Lipscomb’s secondary program received four stars in four of the evaluation categories including candidate selection criteria, Common Core standards for high school content, student teaching and outcomes.

“The public needs to hear (that) the complexity of teaching is different,” College of Education Dean Candice McQueen told the Tennessean. “The teacher has to know skills very deeply. They have to know how to question. They have to know how to group students. They have to be complex thinkers themselves.”

The college’s graduate elementary teacher preparation program received a two-star program rating, which included four stars in the candidate selection criteria, student teaching, struggling readers and outcomes categories.

teacher prep2According to the NCTQ report, traits of the nation’s top teacher prep programs include

  • screening for academic caliber before admission,
  • training to teach Common Core standards in reading and math,
  • training elementary teachers to teach reading to English-language learners and struggling readers,
  • teaching classroom management skills, teaching how to assess learning rates and use student performance data to change instruction,
  • requiring secondary teachers to practice instructional techniques specific to their content area,
  • ensuring that student teachers experience schools successfully serving those who are traditionally underserved and
  • collecting data on graduates.

This is the latest recognition for the College of Education, which has a reputation for excellence that was established decades ago as Lipscomb began preparing teachers in the early 1900s. One of the university’s first nationally accredited programs was teacher preparation when the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education granted accreditation in 1967.

Lipscomb University’s College of Education is a known leader and innovator in education in the state of Tennessee. The College of Education, named by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's Teacher Preparation Program Report Card as one of the best in the state at preparing teachers, is a leader in the movement to support educational progress in Tennessee.

The COE offers undergraduate and graduate programs that enable candidates to teach in 24 different subject areas with students from kindergarten to high school. More than 500 students are currently enrolled in graduate education programs at Lipscomb and at three off-campus sites. The college’s programs are fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Tennessee State Board of Education.

The COE is the professional development provider in the first public-school-to-charter-school transformation in Tennessee. Lipscomb is in its fourth year of the innovative transformation partnership with Nashville’s under-performing Cameron Middle School as it transitions to a charter school. The partnership is creating a nationally recognized body of research on embedded professional development and instructional coaching for P-12 schools and is drawing strong regional and national interest.

The COE has received more than $2.5 million in competitive grant monies to strengthen P-12 math and science instruction for local inservice teachers.  These funds include awards of four recent Race to the Top grants promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and conducting professional development for teachers in Davidson, Cheatham, Williamson, Sumner and Robertson counties in Tennessee. Last year, the Ayers Foundation selected Lipscomb as the recipient of a $1 million gift to establish an institute that serves the teachers of the State of Tennessee. 

Lipscomb University was also selected as the local education partner for Nashville’s first Teach For America teaching corps, which launched in fall 2009. It serves as a host institute for licensure and master’s programming. The COE recently partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools to train more than 130 teachers in best practices for educating English-language learners after competing with other universities for the opportunity.