campus wide alert

College News

Catawba College Invited to Participate in New Council of Independent Colleges Initiative

March 15, 2006

Category: Academics, Mathematics, Students, Teacher Education


Catawba College is one of 20 institutions nationwide which applied and was invited to take a leadership role in a new initiative to strengthen teacher preparation programs.  The initiative, Teachers for the 21st Century program, is sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in partnership with the Microsoft Corporation.

Fifty-eight institutions applied to participate in the initiative.  Faculty members from the selected institutions will participate in two national meetings, monthly online seminars and an online community of practice.  Each selected institution also receives a $3,000 stipend to cover costs of the faculty participation. CIC's goal is eventually to involve large numbers of independent colleges and universities in the work of improving the teaching in the nation's schools.

Catawba faculty members participating in the initiative include team leader, Dr. Cynthia Osterhus, assistant professor of teacher education; Dr. James Stringfield, chair and professor of teacher education; Dr. John Zerger, chair and professor of mathematics; and Dr. Paul Baker, professor of mathematics.

CIC's Teachers for the 21st Century program will, over a four-year period, assist faculty members to integrate information and communication technologies, content, skills, and literacies into courses taken by prospective teachers. Each institution will be represented by a team of faculty members who are involved in teacher preparation, drawn both from the education department and from the arts and sciences disciplines in which teacher education students major. The initial group of 20 institutions will work with CIC to develop a series of in-person workshops and online seminars, and to disseminate exemplary instructional materials.

"As the national service association for private colleges and universities, most with teacher education programs," said CIC President Richard Ekman, "CIC can influence a large number of institutions." Ekman added that the main goal of the project is to enable teacher education programs (and associated disciplinary courses) to improve the ways in which they prepare K-12 teachers.

The CIC program is one component of a major initiative of the Microsoft Corporation, known as Partners in Learning, which is collaborating with governments and educational institutions to improve K-12 education around the globe. Currently, Microsoft has projects in more than 75 countries. The U.S. Partners in Learning initiative is a five-year, $35 million effort that includes several state-level initiatives, the development of high quality materials at the national level, and the diffusion of effective practices to other settings. Linda Zecher, vice president of the U.S. Public Sector at Microsoft, said "the education community is facing an enormous challenge in developing and delivering 21st century teaching methodologies to keep pace with today's knowledge economy. Within that challenge lies an opportunity for community members to support innovators, helping states and educators to discover and foster the long-term education solutions that exist within their systems." The Microsoft Corporation has awarded CIC $495,000 for its work in the program.

In addition to Catawba, institutions participating in the Teach 21 project include: Alverno College (WI), Benedictine University (IL), Chatham College (PA), Clarke College (IA), College of Mount St. Joseph (OH), Ferrum College (VA), Gannon University (PA), Lesley University (MA), Manchester College (IN), Marywood University (PA), Mercy College (NY), Mount St. Mary's College (CA), Ottawa University (KS), Pace University (NY), Saint Leo University (FL), Spring Hill College (AL), St. Bonaventure University (NY), The Sage Colleges (NY), and Wheelock College (MA).

The Council of Independent Colleges is the national service organization for small and mid-sized independent colleges and universities. It includes more than 550 independent, liberal arts colleges and universities and more than 50 higher education affiliates and organizations that work together to strengthen college and university leadership, sustain high-quality education, and enhance private higher education's contributions to society. To fulfill this mission, CIC provides its members with skills, tools, and knowledge that address aspects of leadership, financial management and performance, academic quality, and institutional visibility. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit CIC's website at www.cic.edu