Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education and Professional Studies has been recognized by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) for its commitment to diversity throughout its teacher preparation programs.

ODU is the recipient of the 2022 AACTE Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity. This award, sponsored by AACTE's Committee on Global Diversity, recognizes the infusion of diversity throughout all components of a school, college or department of education as fundamental to teacher preparation and development. Kala N. Burrell-Craft, director of teacher residencies in the Darden College of Education & Professional Studies, will accept the award on behalf of ODU at the AACTE 74th annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 4.

There is a national shortage of teachers, particularly in urban school districts, which often experience extraordinary difficulty in hiring and retaining teachers. ODU has a significant history of implementing residency programs that prepare diverse teachers to fill these critical shortages, utilizing a culturally relevant framework. In 2015, ODU partnered with local school systems to prepare teachers through the Teacher in Residence (TIR) program, a master's level teacher licensure curriculum.

In its seventh year, the TIR program promotes the development of participants as culturally responsive, antiracist professional educators, leaders and critically engaged citizens. The program also helps eliminate financial obstacles for talented teachers of color. With the support of district, state and other grant funding, the program fully funds tuition and associated fees for a master's degree and license, licensure exam costs, a stipend and emergency funds to cover childcare and other unexpected challenges that often create barriers to program completion.

ODU's TIR Program offers a yearlong residency while utilizing mentors to prepare teachers that meet high-need, urban schools' STEM and special education demands. Graduates of the TIR Program gain fundamentals through their experience and receive exemplary training that includes hands-on experiences in diverse urban classrooms.

"We are fortunate to have the leadership of Dr. Kala Burrell-Craft at ODU to ensure we provide top-notch, culturally alert and equitable education to our students." said Tammi Dice, interim dean of the Darden College.

"The Teacher in Residence Program at Old Dominion University is a fine example of the 2022 AACTE Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity," said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and chief executive officer. "The TIR Program provides an invaluable service to feeding the pipeline of multicultural and diverse teachers while removing barriers, which creates candidates that can fill the gap of cultural diversity in our schools."

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs and partners dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. Through advocacy and capacity building, AACTE promotes innovation and effective practices that strengthen educator preparation.

The AACTE Awards Program has been recognizing excellence since 1996 in both member institutions and individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of educator preparation. By honoring notable programs and practices, professional accomplishments and scholarship, these awards encourage AACTE members to strengthen the profession through innovation, leadership, and inquiry. Learn more at aacte.org.

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