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Nearly 600 teacher educators from around the world were “Racing to Excellence” at the 39th annual Teacher Education Division Conference held at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Lexington in November.

The conference was co-chaired by Dr. Margaret Bausch, chair of the UK College of Education’s Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling, and Dr. Belva Collins, chair of the Department of Special Education and Child Development at the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC), and a former department chair in the UK College of Education.

The Teacher Education Division is one of 17 special interest groups of the Council for Exceptional Children. The council is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, including students with disabilities and those identified as gifted.

During the conference there were more than 350 concurrent sessions. The topical strands included accountability; diversity; partnerships; preparation, certification, and induction; policies and practices, research and inquiry; and technology. The Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling was well represented at the conference with 13 faculty members and 8 students presenting information and research on special-education teacher preparation.

Internationally known keynote speakers at the conference included:

Dr. Ted Hasselbring, a research professor at Vanderbilt University. Hasselbring was formerly the William T. Brian Professor and Endowed Chair in Special Education Technology at UK. He is the developer of computer-intervention programs for struggling learners, including READ 180, FASTT Math, and Simon SIO;

Dr. William “Bill” Heward, an emeritus faulty member at The Ohio State University. Heward is author of nine books and more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. He has been a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Portugal, a Visiting Scholar at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, a Visiting Professor of Psychology at Keio University in Tokyo and the University of São Paulo;

Dr. Lisa Dieker, a Pegasus Professor and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar Chair at the University of Central Florida. She is the co-developer of the TeachLivE™ simulator used in teacher preparation programs; and

Dr. Jane West, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland. West is the policy advisor to several national education organizations, including the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, and the Teacher Education Division. She has organized multiple briefings for policy makers and routinely consults with elected officials to develop education policy that will serve the highest need students.