Office of Public Affairs

(315) 312-2265

Oct. 1, 2003

CONTACT: Dr. Suzanne Weber, 312-2102


      OSWEGO -- A newly awarded federal grant to be managed by Dr. Suzanne Weber of SUNY Oswego and Dr. John Porter of SUNY System Administration will help State University teacher education programs enhance the training and assessment of future classroom teachers.

      A three-year $682,769 grant from the federal Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education will support collaboration between the 15 SUNY institutions that prepare teachers and SUNY System Administration to develop and implement a new system to assess the ability of prospective teachers to help K-12 students learn.

      The goal is to enhance beginning teacher competency and SUNY teacher education programs across the state, said Weber, associate dean of SUNY Oswego's School of Education. SUNY prepares about 25 percent of the more than 20,000 new teachers recommended by colleges and universities for certification in New York state each year.

      "This project puts SUNY in a leadership position in preparing the best and brightest teachers of tomorrow, and we're pleased that SUNY Oswego is spearheading the project," said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley.

      The project will develop a well-rounded assessment model that can help judge and predict what makes a successful teacher more effectively than standardized test scores can, Weber said. "This is about teachers knowing the subject matter, and it's especially about predicting whether teachers can engage children in learning," she said.

      State University of New York Chancellor Robert L. King said, "SUNY teacher education programs have long been recognized for a commitment to excellence. Our students continue to outperform their peers on the state certification exams. I am very pleased Professor Weber and Associate Provost Porter have won this highly competitive grant, but more importantly, I look forward to the positive impact their work will have on our exceptional teacher education programs."

      Weber and Porter, associate provost for institutional research at SUNY System Administration, will co-manage the grant, much of which will be redistributed to SUNY's teacher education programs to allow them implement the assessment model.

      A symposium Oct. 2 and 3 at the Marx Hotel in Syracuse will advance the project. Faculty and administrators from the 15 participating SUNY institutions and SUNY system officials will attend the Teacher Education Assessment Symposium. Such symposia will be held twice a year to promote the collaboration and feedback required to make the project succeed, Weber said.

      "One of the top goals in the No Child Left Behind Act is to make sure students nationwide continue to have the most highly qualified teachers possible," said Congressman John M. McHugh, of New York's 23rd Congressional District. "This grant is great news for New York students, making sure teachers graduating from SUNY schools throughout the state are the best at what they do."

      The 15 participating campuses are the universities at Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook and the colleges at Brockport, Buffalo, Cortland, Fredonia, Geneseo, New Paltz, Old Westbury, Oneonta, Oswego, Plattsburgh and Potsdam.

      The federal FIPSE grant will finance 41 percent of the State University's initiative in teacher education assessment. The 15 campuses are sharing the remaining 59 percent of the project costs, or $984,016.
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