Campus: CSU Northridge -- July 23, 2004

Keck Foundation Awards CSUN $300,000 for Innovative New Teacher-in-Residence Project

The W. M. Keck Foundation has awarded Cal State Northridge $300,000 over the next two years for an innovative new program that puts K-12 teachers in the university's arts and sciences classrooms so that the teachers, CSUN students and faculty can work together to better prepare future educators.

The overall goal of the W.M. Keck Teachers-in-Residence Project is to bridge the gap between theory and practice in teacher education programs, and to strengthen active collaborations between K-12 teachers and university arts and sciences faculty in order to develop a new generation of teachers who are prepared to support student success in K-12 classrooms. This is believed to be the first university-wide program of its kind in the United States.

"The Keck gift enables Cal State Northridge to continue to be at the forefront of innovation in teacher education, and reinforces that teacher preparation is a university-wide responsibility at CSUN," said Philip J. Rusche, dean of the university's Michael D. Eisner College of Education.
"More importantly," Rusche said, "the gift enhances both the university and local schools by having school faculty share their knowledge with our faculty, and take what they have learned back to their home schools."

The teachers-in-residence project will become part of the Teachers for a New Era initiative currently taking place on the Northridge campus.

Cal State Northridge, a leading producer of teachers among public institutions in California, was one of only four universities nationwide initially tapped by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to take part in the landmark initiative designed to strengthen K-12 teaching by developing state-of-the-art programs at schools of education. A final total of 11 institutions are now involved in a consortium that will work together over the next few years to create and disseminate new models of a more effective approach to teacher education. Rusche said the Keck Teachers-in-Residence Project significantly adds to the TNE initiative.

The project will bring K-12 master teachers onto the campus as teachers- in-residence within the arts and sciences departments of the university. Education reform leaders point to studies that indicate a strong background in the arts and sciences can help teachers build the bridge between subject and pedagogy for their students.

The teachers will have an opportunity to teach, research, supervise student teachers, and engage in formal and informal ongoing discussions with the university's faculty about the realities of teaching in today's urban classroom. Built into the project is the flexibility for the teachers-in-residence to explore further opportunities of involvement on campus, from reviewing and informing the content of exit exams to team teaching and admissions.

"Faculty throughout the campus see the value of having teachers in their classrooms, and look forward to having them as co-faculty in their departments," Rusche said.

Rusche said he has been especially pleased with the reaction of arts and sciences faculty to the teachers-in-residence project.

"No matter how well prepared we are at the university level, we are not always knowledgeable about what teachers currently do on a daily basis," he said. "This is going to be helpful in getting us to look at our programs and change them to better meet the needs of teachers."
The W.M. Keck Foundation is one of the nation's largest philanthropic organizations. Established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company, the foundation's grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science, and engineering. The foundation also maintains a program to support undergraduate science and humanities education and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support in the areas of health care, civic and community services, education and the arts, with a special emphasis on children.

Cal State Northridge annually recommends more candidates for credentials than any other California State University campus, and more than all of the University of California campuses combined. With a student body of approximately 33,000, about 8,000 of its students are aspiring educators or current educators pursuing further studies.

As the project develops, Cal State Northridge officials plan to pass on what they learn from the W.M. Keck Teacher-in-Residence Model to the more than 1,200 teacher preparation colleges and universities across the country.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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