To prepare for the reopening of the ACM Urban Education Program (UEP) in Fall 2011, members of the newly-reconvened UEP Faculty Advisory Committee met in Chicago on January 7 to learn more about the program’s structure and curriculum and to discuss ways in which the program can most effectively meet students’ goals for student teaching in Chicago.
The meeting also provided a forum for faculty members to share information about trends in education departments and curricula at their home campuses and to discuss ways the ACM can support faculty development and consortial projects in education in the coming years.
The meeting included a visit by three alumni of ACM colleges and the Urban Education Program who are now educators in the Chicago Public Schools: Tamara Witzl (Beloit College), the principal of Telpochcalli Elementary School; her colleague Rebecca Provencher (Ripon College), a teacher at Telpochcalli; and Monica Wulf Romano (Lawrence University), who teaches at Jose de Diego Community School. They reflected on how participation in the program positively influenced their work as teachers and was an important factor in deciding to pursue their careers in Chicago.
Victoria (Vicki) Trinder, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been a curricular consultant to the program during the past year, working with consortial staff to develop the program’s new curriculum. Trinder previously worked with the UEP for six years, and brings to the current task both her extensive professional experience in education and Chicago Public Schools and a knowledge of the ACM colleges and their departments of education.
The primary focus of the Urban Education Program will be on the student teaching internship, which will engage students in the experience of teaching five days per week in Chicago schools. For the internship placements, schools and cooperating teachers will be carefully selected to meet the students’ personal interests and specializations in teaching, and to ensure that they are mentored by highly-qualified teachers. UEP staff will coordinate evaluation of the students in their internships by experienced supervisors, who will visit the classrooms on a regular schedule for observation.
The student teaching experience will be supported and enhanced by the program’s other components:
- In a weekly Student Teaching Seminar led by Trinder, students will reflect on educational theory and cross-cultural issues within the context of their day-to-day lives in the classroom.
- Each student will develop a guided inquiry project on a topic that grows out of their teaching experience.
- Students will participate in a variety of field trips and activities designed to introduce them to the local communities in which they are teaching.
The faculty committee discussed the potential for developing customized short-term programs designed to meet the needs of students in specialized areas of education and to accommodate the varied academic schedules of ACM colleges.
While the UEP serves students seeking certification for teaching, the advisors noted a growing interest on many campuses in educational studies, which focuses on educational policy and engagement with teaching, but does not include certification. Faculty and ACM staff will explore ways to provide such an option for students.
A sub-committee also will draw up a proposal for a project to identify trends and challenges in education and to consider ways the ACM colleges may respond to those challenges in the future.
First established in the early 1960s, the ACM Urban Education Program has had a long tradition of engagement with Chicago schools and the city’s education community. From the program’s founding through 2006, more than 2,000 students participated in UEP for student teaching and courses in subjects such as bilingual/ESL teacher training, teaching foreign languages, and multicultural education.
Visit the Urban Education Program webpage for complete information about the program.