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Press Release

University launches statewide advisory board to chart path forward

A new review released by the University of North Carolina System takes a close look at the System’s undergraduate teacher preparation programs with an eye toward effective literacy instruction.

The report highlights areas of strength, including strong relationships between schools of education and local school districts and existing data collection efforts. However, the report also identifies the need to better connect teacher candidates with earlier and more frequent hands-on experience, more consistently incorporate state content standards into instruction, and increase the use evidence-based interventions and strategies for literacy instruction.

“If we are to make progress on K-12 education and improve our schools, we need more high-quality teachers…”

“If we are to make progress on K-12 education and improve our schools, we need more high-quality teachers,” said UNC System President Spellings. “As a public University System, we have a responsibility to the people of North Carolina – and to the teachers who do the vital work on the front lines everyday – to offer the strongest possible preparation to our educators. This report gives us a foundation to be bold and ambitious in our efforts to do so, and I’m excited to work with our school deans and our new statewide advisory board to chart the path forward.”

The System’s work will be led by its fifteen college of education deans and a system-wide advisory board co-chaired by former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Ann Clark, North Carolina A&T College of Education Dean Anthony Graham and University of North Carolina Wilmington Provost Marilyn Sheerer. A national search for an Associate Vice President at the System to provide statewide leadership and vision is also underway.

“This review on Educator Preparation Programs provides concrete recommendations that create a very unique opportunity for the system-wide advisory board,” said Dr. Graham. “Working with representatives from K-12 education, institutions of higher education, and colleges of education, the board is charged with prioritizing these recommendations then articulating a collaborative action plan that will strengthen the ways in which we prepare high-quality teachers for the state of North Carolina. We have a fantastic opportunity to improve the pipeline from teacher preparation to new teacher induction.”

“We have a fantastic opportunity to improve the pipeline from teacher preparation to new teacher induction.”

North Carolina has recently made notable gains in fourth grade reading achievement scores. However, results for eighth graders have remained stagnant and stubborn achievement gaps by race, ethnicity, and income remain. UNC System educator preparation programs also find themselves in an era of increased expectations, with new state legislation that will increase accountability for results and create greater competition in teacher preparation.

“We’re proud of our graduates but we have to galvanize behind this report and this opportunity because we have much more work to do to better prepare our teachers,” said UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education Dean Ellen McIntyre. “We’re all in on this.”  

With funding support from the Belk Foundation, the review was led by three experts in early literacy – Beth Ann Bryan, Dr. Marty Hougen and Karen Nelson. Bryan is an education consultant from Austin, Texas who served as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Hougen is the Teacher Education Professional Development Leader with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center (CEEDAR Center) at the University of Florida. Nelson is currently the Executive Director for the Institute for Public School Initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin.

The reviewers were tasked with visiting each of the fourteen UNC System institutions that offer undergraduate degrees leading to teacher licensure in elementary and middle grades to interview deans and their leadership teams, faculty, and candidates to gather information.

   You can read the full review online here: