Joliet, Ill. – University of St. Francis (USF) College of Education (COE) faculty members Karen Blaha, Ed.D., and Erin Evans, Ed.D., presented at the 75th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Their presentation, Supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Candidates in Undergraduate Teacher Education Programs at a Predominately White University, was part of the three-day event, which took place from February 24-26, 2023, in Indianapolis, Ind.
The team’s presentation disseminated the findings of a research study conducted across three focus groups to qualitatively examine the perspectives of BIPOC teacher candidates at a predominantly white, private institution in the Midwest. The research focused on factors that BIPOC candidates consider when choosing a university, perceived challenges faced during their experience and the supports that participants believe are most helpful in boosting retention in teacher education programs.
Additionally, the presentation was designed to allow attendees to analyze the perspectives of BIPOC teacher candidates, teacher education alumni, and in-service teachers regarding the challenges faced in pursuing teacher education at a predominantly white institution and the supports necessary to overcome those challenges, and then apply the recommendations from the presentation to their current teacher education programs for curricular and cultural improvement.
“The USF COE is passionate about equity and inclusion, and being able to develop and implement a research project that allows us to improve our programs is one of the reasons I am most proud to be part of the COE. Sharing our findings on a national platform with 800+ other teacher preparation providers and engaging in collaborative discussion helps us all to move forward in best practices to recruit and retain a diverse group of teacher educators to inevitably make an impact on the field of education in the years to come. Working with Dr. Blaha and the rest of our research team, including Dr. John Gambro, COE dean, and Ms. Amy Schroeder, COE instructor, to discuss supports for BIPOC candidates across all COE programs was an honor and I look forward to seeing where our research will continue to lead us in the future,” Evans offered.
“We were truly blessed to be able to share our research with other educators who also feel inclusive and equitable learning environments are a priority. We experienced some wonderful discussions with the participants, and were presented with possible extensions for future research,” Blaha added.
About the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
According to the AACTE website, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) is the leading voice on educator preparation. AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners. Visit aacte.org for more information.
The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.
University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.
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