10:29 AM

Teacher Preparation at UHD Bolstered through US PREP Partnership


By Mike Emery

Teachers are always in demand in Texas.

Through the efforts of the University of Houston-Downtown’s College of Public Service and the Department of Urban Education, aspiring educators receive expert preparation to support students in classrooms throughout the state’s largest school districts.

This teacher training soon will be bolstered through a new partnership between UHD and the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (US PREP).

Recently, UHD was among eight institutions named to US PREP’s coalition of universities. As a partner university, UHD will grow its teacher preparation programs by implementing quality objectives that align with a framework adopted by US PREP and based on evidence-based practices, which support both teacher preparedness and the success of students.

UHD participated in a three-month selection and interview process to earn a place in US PREP’s growing coalition of institutions. These universities all share the goal of attracting, training and retaining high quality, racially diverse teachers for underserved communities across the country.

“We are deeply committed to preparing teachers who positively impact the diverse students and districts they work with,” said Dr. Jonathan Schwartz, dean of UHD’s College of Public Service.

US PREP’s model for enhancing educator training originated with research conducted at Texas Tech University. Findings have suggested five key attributes are essential to teacher preparedness: a focus on practice; mentoring and coaching; a coherent vision of teaching; integration of coursework and clinical experiences; and partnerships as the driving force for change and improvement. These elements are included in US PREP’s teacher preparation model.

More than 1,800 teacher candidates nationwide have been trained using the US PREP model. According to survey data, these future educators are viewed as credible, confident classroom leaders by partnering school districts.

According to Schwartz, UHD and the College of Public Service will collaborate with US PREP to build teacher candidates competencies and provide mentoring and coaching opportunities for teacher educators. Likewise, the University and the College of Public Service will continue to strengthen partnerships with area school districts. UHD's primary district partner for US PREP is Houston Independent School District.

“The ultimate goal is to not only improve training and experiences for our teacher candidates but to ultimately impact future generations by producing well-trained, competent educators,” he said.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second-largest university in Houston—has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.

As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 60,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.