AACTE Announces New Governance Structure; Imig To Become President

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New Orleans

David G. Imig, the chief executive officer of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, will become both president and CEO of the Washington-based organization next year.

Dale G. Andersen, the special adviser to the provost on education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the current president of AACTE, described the governance changes at this year's annual meeting in New Orleans, held late last month.

David S. Imig

Under the organization's new structure, Allen Glenn, the dean of the college of education at the University of Washington in Seattle, will serve as its last elected president. Mr. Glenn began his term this month.

Next year, Jill Mattuck Tarule, the dean of the college of education and social services at the University of Vermont in Burlington, will become the chairwoman of the association's board of directors.

Mr. Imig, who has led the association for 18 years, will serve as the president and CEO for a five-year period starting next March 1.

In his address to the membership, Mr. Andersen said the new governance model would carry the association "into the new millennium." The outgoing president praised Mr. Imig, who recently received a stellar evaluation from AACTE members and staff.

The association also is making plans to move from it quarters in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood--the site of numerous higher education groups--to a building near the city's new downtown sports arena. Mr. Andersen said the offices would be a "class A headquarters" for the association, which started life in a bicycle shop in upstate New York 50 years ago.

As in every area of education, the issue of accountability was front and center at the Feb. 25-28 meeting. In teacher education, that means accreditation, which is supposed to assure that programs have met professional standards of quality.

So it wasn't surprising that presentations by teacher-educators and college presidents who are involved in an effort to create a new accrediting organization for education schools drew crowds.

Some of the movers behind the fledgling Teacher Education Accreditation Council, which is now seeking federal recognition to approve education schools, made the case for their work at a well-attended informational session.

The idea of an alternative to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, which now accredits some 500 education programs, is highly controversial. Skeptics say it's no accident that TEAC is getting off the ground at the same time that the Washington-based NCATE has forged closer ties with state policymakers.

TEAC, which incorporated last July, expects to begin interviews for a full-time president next month, according to Allen Splete, the president of the Council of Independent Colleges, a Washington-based membership group of college presidents that has nurtured the effort.

Supporters of the concept have made presentations to higher education authorities in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, he said.

Donald Warren, the university dean of the education school at Indiana University Bloomington who is helping to write TEAC's guidelines, said the accrediting effort will be undergirded by principles of quality, but won't impose a single model on institutions.

The new system--which will give colleges great latitude to define for themselves how to prepare teachers and then assess how well they're doing so--will be "the absolute opposite of compliance-driven," Mr. Warren said. "We've been so long in the swamp of externally imposed compliance that we can hardly think about accountability in any other terms."

Later in the day, Mr. Warren again made his case in a debate over accreditation and accountability. He was joined by Gary D Fenstermacher, a professor at the University of Michigan. Arguing against alternatives to NCATE were Hendrik Gideonse, the dean emeritus of the college of education at the University of Cincinnati, and Dennis Cartwright of Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, Idaho, the chairman of AACTE's committee on accreditation.

Mr. Cartwright complained about the "secrecy" surrounding TEAC, which he said has made it difficult to track its progress and get information, and praised the "open process" now under way for redesigning NCATE's standards.

The existing national accrediting body is made up of representatives from the diverse professional and subject-matter groups that have a stake in high-quality teacher preparation, Mr. Cartwright said. In contrast, he argued, TEAC has been promoted by college presidents who want to dominate accreditation. "We have to be accountable to ourselves," he said, "but we can no longer limit it to that. Currently, any NCATE school could meet TEAC's [requirements], but I fear the reverse would not be the case."

Some of the interest in TEAC stems from continuing concern about the nationalization of education policy--a theme that also echoed through the conference. Mr. Fenstermacher referred to the trend toward authority for standards "moving so relentlessly upward."

Others complained about bureaucratic rules and constraints placed on education schools.

But Jerry Long, the associate dean of the education school at Emporia State University in Kansas, said he felt frustrated by all the talk of external standards. "I do not see NCATE as externally imposed," Mr. Long said, adding that he was concerned that the TEAC process wouldn't require education schools to focus on the diversity of their students and staff members, as does NCATE. While that standard has been difficult for Emporia State to meet, he acknowledged, it's important. And without the requirement, he said, many institutions would not even try.

Perhaps it was due to ambivalence about the perceived nationalization of education policy, but most conference-goers skipped the session on the work of the new National Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching.

The consortium, which has a $23 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, has a wide-ranging research agenda shaped by the recommendations of the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future. The privately organized commission released a report in September 1996 arguing for improvements in teacher education and professional development and for changes in schools to make good teaching a reality. The commission is now working with a dozen states that have pledged to try to implement its recommendations.

In a separate session focused on activity in Indiana, one of the partnership states, few hands went up when participants were asked if they were familiar with the commission's work.


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