THE FIRST WORD: A Dedication to Teaching

April 28, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

MOST OF US gratefully remember a special teacher whose skill in the classroom transformed our learning experience, making complex or unfamiliar material accessible, relevant, and compelling, and igniting our curiosity. At The City University of New York, we are fortunate to have many faculty whose expertise and creativity have enriched student proficiency in demonstrable ways. I am delighted that this issue of Salute to Scholars recognizes some of the exceptional faculty whose teaching has garnered awards and acclaim. I commend all of our faculty for their efforts to improve student progress through innovative, dedicated instruction.

CUNY is just as committed to enhancing the learning of K-12 students through effective teaching. Our teacher-leader education programs have led the way in developing and implementing initiatives to enhance the quality of teacher-leader preparation across the University. These include high admission standards for all our graduate education programs; expanding professional development opportunities for University faculty, particularly the training of CUNY field supervisors, through a grant from the State Education Department; enhancing accountability and program effectiveness by tracking the performance of University graduates working in the New York City Department of Education as teachers and principals; and establishing clinically rich graduate-level teacher preparation pilot programs.

In addition, we continue to strengthen our partnerships with organizations dedicated to improving K-12 teaching. CUNY has an exclusive relationship with Math for America in New York City to support effective preparation of middle and high school mathematics teachers. The first cohort began at City College last summer. Our long-standing partnership with the Lincoln Center Institute to introduce its approach to fostering imaginative learning capacities is now focused on researching the impact of the institute’s experiences on our teacher candidates.

Much of the University’s work has informed the recommendations of the New NY Education Reform Commission, Governor Cuomo’s statewide initiative to review the state of public education and develop actionable reforms. As a governor-appointed member of the commission and its working group on teachers and leaders, I have worked closely with Joan Lucariello, the University’s dean for education, to inform and expand commission discussions and determine best practices in K-12 education and higher education in collaboration with leaders from across the state. The commission, which is addressing student learning performance, evaluation of in-service teachers and leaders, and teacher and principal preparation and pipeline, issued its preliminary recommendations in December: http://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/education-reform-commission-report.pdf. Members will continue to explore ways to improve student achievement and will issue a second action plan this fall. I am proud of the pioneering campus-based efforts across the University to prepare skilled teachers and leaders, which continue to serve as statewide models.

Our focus on strengthening the quality of teaching at every level is a reminder of the importance of maintaining a robust full-time faculty corps across the University. Student progress depends on the presence of talented, creative teacher-scholars whose outstanding knowledge of their disciplinary field is matched by their ingenuity in transmitting that knowledge to students. That’s why increasing the number of full-time faculty is a top priority. True education reform is only possible through dedicated faculty determined to transform student learning and student lives.
— Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor