In the United States, over 50% of the PK-12 student population is racially diverse, while over 75% of teachers are white (NCES, 2020). While white teachers can and do work effectively with students of color, there is mounting evidence showing the positive impact that teachers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have on outcomes for students of color (Carver-Thomas, 2017). This validates the need for better recruitment of future teachers of color, creating pathways and possibilities for them to see themselves as educators. But what about once these pre-service teachers are in our classrooms on campus? How do we help them thrive within our university programs and create environments that both nurture their diverse identities and prepare them to challenge and change traditional approaches to education that reflect societal biases? And how can we ensure they want to pursue employment with our surrounding school district partners? Clearly, recruiting diverse candidates into teaching is not enough (Phillip & Brown, 2020), and transformation within our programs and partnerships is necessary.
The CSU Center for Transformational Educator Preparation Programs (CTEPP) was created in 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, to develop and advance strategies that will help teacher preparation programs throughout our 23 campus system better meet the needs of a 21st century education workforce, one that reflects the diversity of the students served by public education. The CSU CTEPP was conceptualized under the leadership of then Assistant Vice-Chancellor Dr. Grenot-Scheyer and Cal State Teach Administrator Dr. Ernest Black with support from a start-up grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; in July 2021, the CSU was awarded $3M to establish CTEPP as a sustainable part of the university system.
CTEPP’s Vision and Mission are as follows:
Vision: CSU educator preparation programs provide national leadership in quality, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Aspiring teachers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color thrive in our programs. Our graduates enter the teaching profession prepared to disrupt systemic oppression and engage with socially just educational practices; they work toward the transformation of inequitable structures and advance greater equity in student outcomes.
Mission: The Center supports the ongoing transformation of all CSU educator preparation programs, advancing their positive impact on historically marginalized communities. Anchored in our Key Transformation Elements, we engage in data-driven, collaborative improvement efforts developing and scaling innovative, effective, and equity-driven teacher preparation pathways and supports.
Under the leadership of Center Co-Directors Dr. Bre Evans-Santiago from CSU Bakersfield, and Dr. Mimi Miller from CSU Chico, the Center has developed three initiatives: Transformation Lab, Equity and Excellence Certificate Program, and the Transformative Teaching and Learning Collaborative.
The Transformation Lab supports educator preparation programs at CSU campuses with measurable, sustainable, and scalable improvements that are aligned with the CTEPP vision and mission. After engaging in a structured self-assessment process and articulating transformation goals, funded campus teams become part of CTEPP’s Transformation Lab (TLab), which is supported by the CSU Educator Quality Center (EdQ). Campus teams participate in a coordinated set of action periods facilitated by EdQ improvement coaches, using continuous improvement tools and frameworks.
The first CTEPP cohort is investigating ways to address areas for programmatic growth, redesigning programs elements so that candidates of color experience support and a sense of belonging,
Equity and Excellence Certificate Program
CTEPP-supported campus teams and other members of the educator preparation community have the opportunity to earn a CSU Equity and Excellence Certificate through a three-course online program resulting in 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through CSU Bakersfield’s Extended Education program. Course 1 is a 4 hour prerequisite that establishes a baseline for the program, familiarizing participants with the terminology, history, data, and theories of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education; a link for registration on the CSU Toolkit for Activating, Encouraging, and Inspiring Teachers for Equity and Inclusion (AEITEI). Course 2 is a one-unit 10 hour course focused on identity and self, delving deep into the concepts of biases, positionality, privilege, and intersectionality. The one-credit 10 hour Course 3 supports participants in applying diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and practices to their work, including anti-racist pedagogy, asset-based instruction/communication, and culturally-sustaining frameworks. Participants complete a post-survey at the end of each course to measure growth or self-reported learnings.
Transformative Teaching and Learning Collaborative
In the Transformative Teaching and Learning Collaborative, CTEPP cohort team members network through virtual meetings, share their learnings, and are provided with curated resources that align with their transformational goals. This component of CTEPP, which is currently under development, will also serve as an introduction to CTEPP for interested school districts and campuses, providing an opportunity for onboarding and building familiarity with all CTEPP activities. In addition, the TTLC will serve as a mechanism for CTEPP campus teams to disseminate outcomes and findings from their work with the Transformation Lab.
With these three initiatives, the Center will reach faculty and staff across the CSU, providing various possibilities for transformational work individually and collectively. While funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will end in 2024, the CTEPP Leadership Team will be seeking funding to allow the CTEPP to continue as an integral part of the CSU system. Although the pandemic is still consuming our everyday lives, the CSU has developed a bright light in the midst of the darkness for our educator preparation pathways!