posted August 23, 2007

Education Program Earns High Score from State

The teacher-education program at Hope College has itself earned top marks from Michigan's Department of Education.

Hope and Oakland University had the best performance scores among all teacher-preparation institutions in Michigan according to a report released earlier this month by the Michigan Department of Education. Out of a possible score of 70, Hope's education program received a 68.

"The teacher education program has been in place at Hope College since 1866. In that entire time, the department has been actively engaged in meeting community and state needs for teachers, and in maintaining the highest levels of accreditation by outside agencies," said Dr. Nancy Sonneveldt Miller, who is dean for the social sciences and a professor of education at Hope. "The 2007 HEA report verifies what we have known internally all that time: our engaged and up-to-date faculty, working with focused students and a campus community which supports strong teacher preparation, produces results such as these. We are pleased for both the department and the college."

The college's department of education prepares students to teach in elementary and secondary schools. The department annually certifies approximately 150 graduates as teachers, and currently has 12 full-time faculty.

The teacher-education program at Hope provides prospective teachers with a blend of classroom instruction and field experience. Students participate in field placements beginning with their first course in the program, Educational Psychology, a model that continues through a culminating semester spent student teaching. The student-teaching placements are available not only locally but also through off-campus programs including in Chicago, Ill.; Philadelphia, Pa.; the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota; and Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

Student-led chapters of two national professional organizations, the Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), offer professional development and service opportunities for teacher-education students. Students in the program also have the chance to gain additional experience through activities such as volunteering with local organizations that work with children, such as the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) and Upward Bound programs based at Hope.

The college's department of education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The department received one of only six "Distinguished Achievement Awards" nationwide from the International Society for Technology in Education in 2002 for effectively blending technology into the college's teacher education program.

Graduates of Hope's education program teach in public and private K-12 schools around the country, and abroad in nations including Bahrain, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Honduras, Japan and Qatar. Hope education alumni also serve as Peace Corps volunteers, counselors in elementary and secondary schools, curriculum coordinators and supervisors, school administrators and college professors.

The Michigan Department of Education developed the report in response to the federal Higher Education Act (HEA), Title II, to meet new federal requirements that states monitor the performance of their teacher-education programs. Criteria include the percentage of students who enter and complete the program; the results of surveys of student teachers; responsiveness to state need in preparing candidates in high-need subjects and the diversity of teacher candidates; scores on the Michigan Test of Teacher Competency; and periodic program review as demonstrated by accreditation.

The more than 30 programs ranked in the state's report included programs at private and public colleges and universities. The other programs' scores ranged from 30 to 66.

The 2007 HEA/Title II report is the first in a line of state and federal documentation designed to inform the public about the range and scope of teacher education programs available to students and their families. The department of education at Hope continues to work in cooperation with these agencies, other TE programs, professional organizations such as DARTEP (directors and Representatives of Teacher Education Programs), MACTE (Michigan Association of Colleges of Teacher Education), NACTE (National Association of Colleges of Teacher Education), and AACTE (American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education) to prepare teachers, update programs, and build substantive academic courses of study which sustain teaching and learning for the 21st century.