Augsburg College is among 14 colleges and universities in Minnesota and the Dakotas that received funding from the Bush Foundation as part of a program that will transform teacher preparation programs and improve teacher effectiveness over the next decade.
The $40 million initiative was formally announced Thursday at a press conference at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The Bush Foundation says that through improving how teachers are taught and trained—especially at a time in which a large number of current K-12 teachers are nearing retirement—the achievement gap between white students and students of color will close.
Augsburg’s work will be part of the Twin Cities Teaching Collaborative, a group that also includes Bethel University, Concordia University-St. Paul, Hamline University, St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas. These six Twin Cities private schools currently prepare nearly 20 percent of all new teachers in Minnesota.
Other institutions working with the Bush Foundation include Minnesota State Mankato, the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Moorhead, North Dakota State, St. Cloud State, the University of South Dakota, Valley City State and Winona State.
For students at Augsburg and the other Twin Cities private schools in the program, education students will spend more time in K-12 classrooms, will have a professional mentor and will receive more support once they become teachers.
“The way we will prepare our students will make it possible for them to be change agents when they get into the P-12 system,” said Barbara Farley, Augsburg’s Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. “It will build on what we do already.”
The six Twin Cities private schools will share information and resources while also engaging school district administrators and teachers.
“These universities and colleges participated in a rigorous planning process during which they completed detailed proposals for redesigning their teacher-preparation programs,” said Susan Heegaard, vice president and educational achievement team leader for the Bush Foundation. “In each case, the universities are taking a bold, courageous stance in guaranteeing the effectiveness of the teachers they train.”