Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- July 14, 2004

Cal Poly University Center for Teacher Education Is Now College of Education

Cal Poly's University Center for Teacher Education is now the College of Education. The name change became official in early July, after approval by university President Warren J. Baker.

The University Center for Teacher Education was created some 15 years ago to house Cal Poly's teacher credentialing programs. It now has some 650 students seeking multiple or single-subject California teaching credentials or graduate degrees in education. In 2003, Cal Poly received approval to partner with UC Santa Barbara to offer a joint doctorate in education - the first at Cal Poly.

"Cal Poly is committed to helping California sustain high-quality K-12 schools, which are critical to the quality of students entering higher education and to sustaining California's workforce," Baker said. "We intend to expand our efforts in support of K-12 schools, and the new College of Education reflects our commitment. A special emerging priority and emphasis of the College of Education is development of science and mathematics teachers who can inspire students to seek careers in engineering, science and technology."

College of Education Dean Bonnie Konopak added that the name change represents the evolution and growth that has taken place in Cal Poly's newest college in recent years. "Neither our previous name nor our structure fully represented this growth," Konopak explained.

The College of Education has been reorganized into two units: the Division of Teacher Education, offering the college's multiple and single-subject credential programs; and the Department of Graduate Studies in Education, offering advanced credentials, master's and doctoral programs.

Interim Provost Robert Detweiler noted that the changes are the latest illustration of the university's commitment to the state's K-12 education system. Earlier this year, Cal Poly also established the University Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education. The College of Education and the College of Science and Mathematics will work together in developing the center and its programs and funding. "We intend to increase the numbers of elementary and secondary teachers we graduate and to ensure that they are especially strong in science and math teaching skills."

Other changes under way at the new College of Education include:

  • Expansion of the teaching credential programs in math, biology, chemistry and physics


  • A new master's degree specialization in math and science education in conjunction with Cal Poly's College of Science and Mathematics


  • The recent addition of the Cotchett Endowed Professorship, just filled by the hiring of Shirley Magnussen, associate professor in science education


  • The recent addition of Cotchett Scholarships


  • The current construction of the Cotchett Math and Science Education teaching lab


  • The further development of the University Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education.
The Cotchett professorship, scholarships and teaching lab were made possible by a recent gift from Joseph Cotchett, a Cal Poly alumnus and top trial attorney, and his wife, Victoria Cotchett, of Palo Alto. The couple have pledged $7 million to the new College of Education to support the training of quality math and science teachers inCalifornia.

The College of Education becomes the university's seventh college, along with the College of Agriculture, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Orfalea College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts, and College of Science and Mathematics.

Contact: Bonnie Konopak, Dean, College of Education, (805) 756-2126


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