University Advancement
News Release

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler
(818) 677-2130

CSUN Asked by Carnegie Corporation of New York
To Take Part In Landmark Schools Initiative

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., April 12, 2002) - Cal State Northridge is one of four universities nationwide that have been asked by Carnegie Corporation of New York to take part in a landmark initiative designed to strengthen K-12 teaching by developing state-of-the-art programs at schools of education.

Northridge, Michigan State University, the University of Virginia and Bank Street College of Education in New York City were all asked by Carnegie Corporation to participate in the first phase of a multi-year initiative called "Teachers for a New Era."

"Teaching reform is central to school reform, and these institutions are pioneers in the movement," said Vartan Gregorian, president of the Corporation. "If we really want to improve student achievement, we have no choice but to improve teaching. As the 19th century French philosopher, Victor Cousin, succinctly put it, 'As is the teacher, so is the school.'"

CSUN President Jolene Koester said the university, the largest producer of teachers in California, was honored to be asked to participate in such a prestigious project.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to participate in a national effort to refine, engage and improve the quality of teaching," Koester said. "The Carnegie Corporation initiative recognizes the importance of integrating all the elements - from the arts and sciences to the fundamentals - that are critical to a solid education. Cal State Northridge is already recognized as a leader in teacher education. Taking part in the initiative will allow us to build upon an already successful program."

Charles Reed, chancellor of the 23-campus California State University system, said he was proud Northridge was recognized for its outstanding teacher education program.

"We are extremely grateful to the Carnegie Corporation for offering this opportunity and for raising national awareness of the importance of high-quality teacher preparation," Reed said. "The CSU shares with the Carnegie Corporation its belief that the preparation of high-quality teachers is an essential precondition for improving our country's K-12 schools. Cal State Northridge is an example of the best of what the CSU system has to offer."

Under Gregorian's leadership, Carnegie Corporation has made higher education issues, particularly reform of teachers' education, one of its highest priorities. It has established three guiding principles as critical in the redesign of schools that prepare teachers:

  • Leadership on the part of the presidents of supported academic institutions that elevates the role and importance of schools of education within the university community and a design that builds on research evidence.

  • Top-level collaboration between university faculty in the arts and sciences with the school of education faculty to ensure that prospective teachers are well grounded in specific disciplines and provided a liberal arts education.

  • Establishing teaching as a clinical profession, with students mentored by master teachers in a formal two-year residency as they make the transition from college to the classroom.

Corporation officials said the four institutions asked to participate in "Teachers for a New Era" already have embraced these ideas as critical for what it takes to produce excellent teachers for tomorrow's children.

"We are excited about the opportunity to build on the existing strengths of our teacher preparation program," said Louanne Kennedy, CSUN's provost and vice president of academic affairs. "This will allow us to develop strong methods for measuring pupil performance with teachers who have been prepared by Cal State Northridge."

The success of the institutions chosen to be part of the initiative, their graduates and the research their efforts produce are expected to become models for the rest of the nation. Ultimately, the initiative will include at least eight higher education institutions by the year 2004.

"At the conclusion of this investment," said Daniel Fallon, chair of the Corporation's education division, "the participating universities will be seen as having established the standards for best practice in educating professional teachers."

Money to fund the initiative is coming from a variety of sources. The Corporation plans to contribute more than $30 million to the project. The Ford Foundation and The Annenberg Foundation have each committed $5 million to the project. The Rockefeller Foundation will be covering the costs of a major ongoing external evaluation of the initiative. The number of participating universities could increase if other foundations join the initiative in future years.

Carnegie Corporation will grant each institution up to $5 million that will be matched over a five-year period. Additional foundation grants will cover evaluations and up to $750,000 will be given to each university to share with its local partners, including school districts and other teacher education programs.

Andrew Carnegie created Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." As a grantmaking foundation, the corporation seeks to carry out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy, which he said should aim "to do real and permanent good in the world." The Corporation awards grants totaling approximately $75 million a year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and strengthening U.S. democracy.

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