Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- March 10, 2000


Two Cal Poly Instructors Selected as Carnegie Scholars

Two members of the faculty of Cal Poly's University Center for Teacher Education have been selected as Carnegie Scholars in the Pew National Fellowship Program.

Elaine Chin, who joined the University Center for Teacher Education faculty in 1996, and Alice Tomasini, a UCTE faculty member since 1998, were selected for the program, part of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL).

The program brings together faculty members committed to investigating and documenting significant issues and challenges in the teaching of their fields.

The two scholars were among 40 select college and university instructors from across the nation chosen on the basis of their work and a project proposal. They each receive a $6,000 stipend and on-site costs of a summer residence with the Carnegie Foundation as well as interim meetings.

Chin, of San Jose and San Luis Obispo, was selected for her project "Modeling and Practicing Team Teaching in Preservice Teacher Education," which examines how teacher education faculty members work at team teaching in a new secondary credential program.

The UCTE recently adopted a new approach to the preparation of secondary teachers, which requires students to spend more time working in local schools. The program gives student teachers more opportunities to apply the theories learned at the university in actual K-12 classrooms.

The new program also requires the teacher education faculty to collaborate in planning and teaching the new courses, activities not typical of most university teaching. By studying the process of team teaching, Chin hopes to identify the personal and institutional factors that support successful team teaching. She will also examine whether team teaching at the university may persuade student teachers to try this practice with colleagues in their own schools.

Tomasini, who lives in a rural area between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay, proposed a project titled "Empowering Student Teachers to Talk About Difference; An Alternative Model for Multicultural Education."

The project examines how student teachers learn to deal with the challenges of teaching students who are different from themselves.

"In traditional university classrooms, students are expected to sit quietly and absorb what the professor says," Tomasini said. "This is not a good model of teaching for future teachers."

This project focuses on how one university professor changes the dynamics of her classroom to make it safe for all students to participate equally.

"This approach models forms of democratic teaching that we would wish future teachers to emulate," Tomasini said.

Participants for the 2000-2001 year were selected from the fields of biological sciences, education and teacher education, literature, health sciences, history, law, mathematics, performing arts, political science, sociology, and interdisciplinary fields.

CASTL, a major initiative of the Menlo Park-based Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, promotes work that explores not only the teacher's practice but also the character and depth of student learning that results from that practice.

"The Pew National Fellowship Program for Carnegie Scholars supports the work of distinguished faculty who are contributing to an emerging scholarship of teaching and learning," said Lee Shulman, Carnegie Foundation president.

The fellowship gives teachers -- whose work is mostly a private matter involving just students -- an opportunity to be evaluated by professional peers.

For more information, call Carol Barnes, UCTE director of advancement, at 756-5934.



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