Grant to Support Teacher Education

Grant to Support Teacher Education

The Lynch School of Education, in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences, has received a $5 million grant from the Carnegie Corp. of New York as part of its "Teachers for a New Era" initiative.

Associate Academic Vice President for Undergraduate Programs John J. Burns, left, and Prof. Dennis Shirley (LSOE) will be chiefly responsible for administering a $5 million Carnegie grant to Boston College as part of the "Teachers for a New Era" initiative. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
A national advisory panel, working on behalf of the Carnegie Corp., recommended that Boston College receive the award along with six other institutions of higher education. "Teachers for a New Era," a landmark initiative undertaken by the Carnegie Corp. to strengthen K-12 teaching, supports state-of-the art schools of education that are focused on evidence-driven teacher education programs. The initiative is expected to directly influence public policy leaders concerned with the quality of the nation's teachers.

"This award is especially gratifying in that it supports work very much in keeping with the mission of Boston College to respond to society's needs," said BC Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John J. Neuhauser. "The designation is a tribute to the work of our faculty, and also provides a welcome opportunity to help address what is a very important issue in our nation."

Boston College was selected for this designation in recognition of both the capability of its teacher preparation program and its University-wide commitment to the initiative, which includes among its design principles an effective engagement by the school of education with the arts and sciences.

"I am delighted with this news," said A&S Dean Joseph F. Quinn. "The preparation of the next generation of teachers is the responsibility of all of us, not just the School of Education. This grant will provide the College of Arts and Sciences with the opportunity to increase the quantity and quality of our contribution.

"I believed that Boston College would be a strong candidate, despite the very strong competition, because of the extensive interaction that already exists among many A&S departments and the Lynch School, and because a team of terrific faculty from both schools put together an outstanding and ambitious proposal," said Quinn.

Interim Lynch School Dean Rev. Joseph O'Keefe, SJ, said, "The Carnegie grant will enable us to build on what we have started, and to devise models of teacher preparation that put into action the philosophical underpinnings of the Teachers for a New Era initiative."

Added Associate Academic Vice President for Undergraduate Programs John J. Burns, the project manager, "This is truly an exciting opportunity to help more of the students in our College of Arts and Sciences understand the teaching process. More and more liberal arts graduates are being recruited into the teaching profession, so this initiative offers an excellent way to get them started, as well as to raise the profile of teaching in general."

Participating institutions in the Teachers for a New Era initiative must meet several criteria, including an effective working relationship between its education and arts and sciences schools. The institutions also must be in regular contact with their education graduates and track their post-degree progress.

The Lynch School is well suited to the Teachers for a New Era initiative, say administrators, given its ongoing commitment to improve the lives of children, youth and families through high-quality teacher preparation, scholarly research and hands-on community outreach.

The Lynch School's ongoing collaboration with the Boston Public Schools is one example of this commitment, notably its work with the Gardner Elementary School in Allston, where Lynch School faculty, in collaboration with faculty from across the University, have helped to establish an extended service effort that now provides mental health counseling, adult education, health care and after-school opportunities, in addition to educational services, to the school's 450 students and their families.

Said Prof. Dennis Shirley, the Lynch School's Teacher Education program director who also is helping administer the project, "My colleagues and I view the awarding of the Carnegie grant as an honor and testimony to the hard work that we have put into establishing one of the nation's premier teacher education programs. We are especially grateful for the exciting collaborations we've established with our colleagues in the arts and sciences, other departments in the Lynch School of Education, and the Boston Public Schools. These were key to our winning the grant, and we look forward to deepening these collaborations as we use Carnegie resources to develop a truly exemplary teacher education program over the next five years."

Fr. O'Keefe added, "Teachers for a New Era plays to our strengths and beliefs. The links between the Lynch School and A&S are strong and will grow only stronger through this grant. Our partnerships with local schools and teachers also will be greatly enhanced. Likewise, our A&S and Education faculty will be actively engaged with our graduates during the crucial first years of employment."

Full details of the Teachers for a New Era prospectus can be found on the Carnegie Web site at

-Patricia Delaney and Sean Smith


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