One of the main keys to the success of UNC Asheville’s teacher education program (EPP) is strong collaborative relationships with P-12 partners. Formal collaborations between the EPP and area P-12 school districts were established in the early 1990s, and continue to thrive today under an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Under the MOU, the EPP and its official P-12 partner school districts work together on teacher education initiatives which are of mutual interest. EPP candidates complete field experiences and Clinical Practice exclusively in the official P-12 partner school districts. The goals of the collaborative are to:
Develop and maintain high quality, early, frequent, and focused field experiences and Clinical Practice in public schools for EPP candidates
Collaborate on EPP planning, program development, and assessment
Coordinate efforts to develop and retain quality teachers
Provide mutually planned and implemented professional development opportunities for P-12 personnel and candidates.
Increase communication and collaboration between the EPP and P-12 school districts
The collaborative consists of two important components: the University School Teacher Education Partnership (USTEP) and the University School Teacher Education Council (USTEC).
University School Teacher Education Partnership (USTEP)
USTEP is integral in EPP operations and decision making for continuous improvement of candidate preparation and support of initial completers. USTEP is a collaborative group involving P-12 school personnel, members of the EPP, university Arts and Sciences faculty, EPP candidates, and EPP alumni. USTEP is divided into three subcommittees: Initial Preparation, Induction, and Professional Development.
- The Initial Preparation subcommittee focuses on strengthening the preparation of teachers, with an emphasis on early, frequent, and focused field experiences and Clinical Practice. The subcommittee routinely reviews courses in each licensure program to make recommendations regarding refining EPP licensure course assignments and expectations to align with standards and the realities of teaching, and advises the EPP on issues of diversity and recruiting.
- The Induction subcommittee works to support initially licensed completers during their first three years of years of teaching who are preparing to convert their initial license to a continuing license. The subcommittee’s work includes sponsoring workshops to assist with National Board Certification.
- The Professional Development subcommittee focuses on delivering professional development to support collaborative professional activities among P-12 teachers, EPP faculty, and candidates. The EPP takes direction from P-12 partner districts to offer professional development activities based on school system needs, elicited during subcommittee meetings and via technology-based collaborations.
University School Teacher Education Council (USTEC)
USTEC is a standing university committee made up of administrators and teachers from each of the EPP’s P-12 partner school districts, members of the EPP, university Arts and Sciences faculty, EPP candidates, and community members. USTEC meets regularly to study and discuss EPP and partner school data, objectives, and needs; and review the recommendations and work of the three USTEP subcommittees. Resulting decisions are made regarding EPP curriculum, program delivery, goals, assessment functions, and operations. USTEC serves as an integral body for the design, implementation, and evaluation of EPP licensure programs.