Holmes Board Approves Center To Coach Teacher Educators

By Ann Bradley — February 06, 1991 3 min read

Washington--The board of directors of the Holmes Group, a national consortium of research universities involved in efforts to improve teacher preparation, has approved a proposal to create a center at Ohio State University that will help teacher educators improve their own teaching.

The decision reflects the growing interest on the part of colleges and universities nationwide to turn their attention to better instruction, while at the same time fulfilling their research missions.

The subject of improving teaching also was a major theme of an address given by Lee S. Shulman, a professor of education at Stanford University, at the Holmes Group’s annual meeting Jan. 25-27 here.

“Colleges and universities have a fundamental obligation to treat their own teaching and curriculum and development work with the same regard they would have teachers treat theirs,” Mr. Shulman told his colleagues.

But, he added, to be valued in an intellectual community, teaching must become “visible, communal,Land public.”

The Holmes Center for Faculty Leadership and Renewal approved by the board will address such concerns by providing resources and preparation for teacher educators throughout the Holmes Group.

Although funding for the center must still be acquired, it will be directed by Kenneth R. Howey and Nancy L. Zimpher, both professors of education at Ohio State.

They will be assisted by six or eight faculty members on leave from their own institutions, and by doctoral students.

In their proposal for the center’s creation, the teacher educators note that the ambitious Holmes Group agenda “places new demands upon faculty.”

The center would send a message to faculty members that involvement in the Holmes Group has tangible benefits, the professors note. “If there is a single dominant concern which we have heard raised by individual faculty members in regard to Holmes, it is the familiar question of, ‘What have you done for me lately,”’ the proposal states.

“While this question is often inap propriate, even unfair, it is nonethe less understandable,” it adds.

The primary goal of the center will be to ensure that teacher-pre paration programs make use of the best pedagogical knowledge and technology.

The center also plans:

To act as a “brokering agent” by matching faculty members on leave from their institutions and Holmes institutions interested in having visiting professors assist with proj ects related to the Holmes Group’s agenda.

To offer faculty leadership and re newal programs, varying in length from a week to a year, and coordi nate other such training opportuni ties at other institutions.

To assess faculty members’ needs and to identify common concerns and interests in an effort to deter mine what kinds of programs would be most welcomed. It will also reach out to develop a “human resource bank” of faculty members at Holmes institutions across the country who could provide workshops, seminars, and teleconferences.

To compile materials to help fac ulty members expand their teach ing repertoire and, in conjunction with the Holmes Group’s curricu lum committee, “screen and cate gorize” the wide range of materials now available for teaching pedago gy.

Although most of the center’s work will focus on actually develop ing faculty members’ teaching skills, rather than on describing them, it also may publish occasional papers detailing its findings.

The emphasis on teaching prac tices embodied by the center is also viewed as a way to assist Holmes in stitutions in their discussions with arts-and-sciences faculty members about improving the preparation of teachers, which is a component of the Holmes agenda.

A version of this article appeared in the February 06, 1991 edition of Education Week as Holmes Board Approves Center To Coach Teacher Educators