University Presidents Agree On Precollegiate Education Reform

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SAN DIEGO--Thirty-five college and university presidents have agreed to meet in early September to discuss how they can press for improvements in schools and in the teaching profession.

Donald Kennedy, president of Stanford University, announced the forthcoming meeting here last week at the annual meeting of the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy.

According to Mr. Kennedy, his invitation to other university presidents to come together around school reform was inspired by the forum's work.

"The Carnegie forum's report A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century presented a bold vision for what schools, and the teaching profession, could be,'' he said. "My colleagues and I are gathering in the belief that there is much we can do to help.''

The American Association for Higher Education and the American Council on Education have agreed to organize the meeting, which will be held Sept. 3 and 4 near Minneapolis. The Carnegie Corporation of New York has provided a $50,000 grant to the association to help plan and underwrite the conference.

According to Mr. Kennedy, university presidents can "lead our campuses into deeper, more meaningful involvements with schools. We can approach the schools with a candid view of the deficits in our own teaching, and work on these.''

In addition, he said, university presidents can become "personally involved in the quality and character of our approaches to teacher preparation.''

Mr. Kennedy said he expects the presidents to develop a statement of "convictions and commitments,'' based on the meeting, that can be shared with university and college presidents nationwide.

He also expects them to take up the issues of school and teacher reform on their own campuses and in their own communities.

Robert F. Sexton, who has been helping coordinate the effort, said that 40 presidents were asked to participate based on their interest in the topic, demonstrated leadership, creativity, and ability to reach a particular sector of the higher-education community. By May 13, 35 had accepted.

In addition, he said, a conscious effort was made to invite a diverse group of presidents, including those from Holmes Group and non-Holmes Group institutions, private universities, and state and regional colleges that train large numbers of teachers.

Mr. Sexton--who is executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a citizens' advocacy group for improved schooling in Kentucky--said the presidential initiative would not conflict with work by the Holmes Group, a consortium of research universities striving to restructure teacher education.

"This is trying to initiate some movement from the total higher-education community,'' he said. "This is not something which can be dealt with by colleges of education alone. Only the presidents can speak for the entire community.''

A former board member of the higher-education association, Mr. Sexton will continue to work on the initiative.

Among the presidents who have agreed to attend the September meeting are:
Tomas Arciniega, president, California State College-Bakersfield; Richard Berendzen, president, American University, Washington; Elias Blake, president, Clark College, Atlanta; Robert Corrigan, chancellor, University of Massachusetts-Boston; Robert Dickeson, president, University of Northern Colorado; Paul A. Elsner, chancellor, Maricopa County Community College District, Phoenix; Brother Raymond Fitz, president, University of Dayton, Ohio; Norman Francis, president, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans; David Fraser, president, Swarthmore College, Pa.; E.K. Fretwell Jr., chancellor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Donald Gerth, president, California State University-Sacramento; Robert Hardesty, president, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos; Philip H. Jordan Jr., president, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio; Kenneth Keller, president, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Sister Dorothy Ann Kelly, president, College of New Rochelle, N.Y.; Donald Kennedy, president, Stanford University, Calif.; C. Peter Magrath, president, University of Missouri, Columbia; Robert McCabe, president, Miami-Dade Community College, Fla.; Russell Nelson, president, Arizona State University, Tempe; Dennis O'Brien, president, University of Rochester, N.Y..

Percy Pierre, president, Prairie View A & M University, Texas; John Porter, president, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti; Sr. Joel Read, president, Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wis.; Earle S. Richardson, president, Morgan State University, Baltimore; Sister Janice Ryan, president, Trinity College, Burlington, Vt.; Steven Sample, president, State University of New York at Buffalo; Harold Shapiro, president, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Hoke Smith, president, Towson State University, Baltimore; Kala Stroup, president, Murray State University, Ky.; Sister Elizabeth Sueltenfuss, president, Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio, Tex.

The Rev. William J. Sullivan, president, Seattle University, Wash.; Michael Timpane, president, Teachers' College, Columbia University, N.Y.; Barbara Uehling, chancellor, University of California-Santa Barbara; Harrison B. Wilson, president, Norfolk State University, Va.; Robert Woodbury, chancellor, University of Southern Maine, Portland.

Vol. 06, Issue 34

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