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.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and 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 approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.