Building a Diverse Educator Workforce

More than half of the teachers the CSU prepares each year are from underserved communities, and one-third are Latinx. However, the overall teacher workforce in California as well as nationally continues to include a low representation of teachers of color. The CSU places a high priority on its leadership role in advancing diversity in the teacher workforce. Here are some examples of the ways in which the California State University is working to build a more diverse educator workforce.

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CSU Northridge, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is leading a six-campus project aimed at increasing the teacher pipeline for male teachers of color throughout the CSU system. If successful, the program will increase the numbers of men of color serving as teachers, mentors and role models in schools in California, particularly elementary schools. Research suggests that this will help close persistent achievement gaps. 

Research has found that students perform better when they can identify with their teachers and that teachers of color can play a key role in students’ self-image of success. 

Additional innovative work reflecting this approach is being done by CSU Dominguez Hills. Every year, the campus’s California STEM Institute for Innovation and Improvement (CSI3) prepares hundreds of STEM teachers from diverse backgrounds; these educators return to communities in the Los Angeles region as leaders in math and science teaching.

The Black & Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative Networked Improvement Community of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) aims to enhance diversity in the teacher workforce. 

In an effort to recruit 25 percent more African American and Hispanic men to the teaching profession by fall 2017, 10 universities across the nation, including CSU Fullerton, have been piloting a range of approaches to encourage males of color to choose a teaching career. 

The CSU Fullerton strategies include reaching out to students in high schools; providing a mentorship program involving undergraduate males of color and local veteran educators; offering financial aid options; and preparing the diverse pool for the state tests needed to enter the program.  

Fresno State’s partnership with the California Teaching Fellows Foundation features a Teaching Fellows Scho​larship Program, a four-year program for local high school graduates who plan to become teachers. Further, its work in partnership with BranchEd about recruiting more diverse teachers was featured in PBS Newshour.

Through a partnership with the NASA Ames Research Center, it includes opportunities for training in how to integrate science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) into classroom instruction. 

As part of a large-scale Teaching Fellows program that provides a summer enrichment program each year on the Fresno State campus, learning opportunities are provided for hundreds of students from nearby Central Valley communities. The Fellows include a diverse group of first-generation college students who want to return to their communities to teach.

Another innovative approach — one which is found across the CSU system is the "Grow Your Own" strategy. CSU campuses recruit candidates from local communities in high- need regions — for example, in the low-income communities of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Santa Ana, San Bernardino, and San Diego.

In this model, candidates are recruited as high school seniors. They participate in structured and supported pathways through community college and onto CSU to complete a bachelor’s degree and credential. In the pilot program, which served as a model for nine other campuses — a partnership between CSU Dominguez Hills and Harbor College— nearly 80% of candidates successfully obtained a credential and returned to their communities to teach.