Teacher Preparation Becomes Department in College of Education

The change came after implementing the groundbreaking TechTeach program.

Texas Tech is one of only two universities in the nation with the TechTeach program.

Earlier this year, Texas Tech University's College of Education created the Department of Teacher Preparation, establishing the program as its own department. Teacher prep, which has been part of Texas Tech since classes started in 1925, had first been housed in the home economics program and later in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

The change was part of the reformation of the teacher preparation program – moving from traditional teacher prep, with one semester of student teaching and certification tests after graduation, to TechTeach, an innovative preparation program putting teacher candidates into public school classrooms for a full year and requiring them to pass certification tests prior to entering the classroom.

Establishing the new department allows teacher preparation to be the top priority for a designated group of faculty and staff, said Doug Hamman, chairman of the new department.

“By having the department, that allows us to focus exclusively on teacher preparation,” Hamman said. “When we were a program within a larger department, it was more difficult because faculty often had responsibilities in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. So members came and went, and it was difficult to have a sustained effort and focus on teacher education because people changed assignments on a semester basis.

Empty Classroom

The innovative teacher preparation program gives teachers an entire year in the classroom before they even graduate from college.

“By establishing the department, we tried to really make the reform our culture.”

Texas Tech is one of only two universities in the nation with this program. Arizona State University, where College of Education Dean Scott Ridley served as associate dean of ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teacher's College prior to coming to Lubbock in 2011, is the other.

“Preparing the measurably best educators for our state and nation is one of our most critical responsibilities as a college of education,” Ridley said. “TechTeach and the new Department of Teacher Preparation indicate just how seriously we take that mission.”

The program is unique in more ways than how much time teacher candidates spend in classrooms. Hamman said they partner with public school districts in Texas with the promise that TechTeach candidates will be among the top performing teachers in the district. Although it's too early in the program to know if this is true, preliminary indications are positive, and Hamman said administrators from partner school districts comment favorably on the teacher candidates in their schools.

Local partner school districts include Lubbock, Lubbock-Cooper, Roosevelt, Frenship, Smyer, Shallowater and Slaton. Texas Tech also has programs in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Hill Country school districts.

“We partner with those schools for improving our program, and in exchange, we promise them quality,” Hamman said.

College of Education

The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including 9 doctoral degrees, 10 master's degrees, two bachelor's degrees and numerous specializations which can lead to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.

Programs in the college are housed in three departments.

The Department of Curriculum & Instruction offers advanced degrees that prepare leaders, researchers, and professors with the knowledge, skills, and practical application experience needed to analyze, construct, and evaluate curricula in ways that create optimal learning conditions for all learners. Language and literacy, bilingual education and STEM education are just a few of the specializations offered by C&I.

The Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership consists of a diverse group of academic programs that equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of learning, motivation, development, and educational foundations. The disciplines of counseling and school psychology are housed within the EP&L department as are programs to prepare future college administrators, primary and secondary school and district leaders, as well as practical and academic educational psychologists.

The Department of Teacher Education focuses solely on teacher preparation, ensuring that teacher candidates are ready for the classroom on day one. The Teacher Education Department is home to TechTeach, an innovative teacher preparation program that puts teacher candidates into public school classrooms for a full year and requires that students pass teacher certification tests prior to entering the classroom. Various paths to teaching careers, including fast-track distance programs statewide and alternative certification options, are also housed in this department.



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