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Henry Named to National Commission on Clinical Practice in Teacher Preparation

Associate Dean of Clinical Preparation and Partnerships Dr. Laurie A. Henry has been named to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) new Clinical Practice Commission (CPC). Henry joins a group of higher education and K-12 leaders from across the country charged with examining the state of clinical practice (commonly known as “field experience”) in teacher preparation. The commission will identify a set of criteria that define clinical practice, lifting up exemplary models in the field and ultimately publishing a set of recommendations for teacher preparation programs nationwide.

“We are deeply committed to advancing professional learning in the field of teacher preparation. Dr. Henry’s participation in the CPC is a tremendous opportunity for us to contribute to a critical national conversation,” said Dr. Mary John O’Hair, dean of the UK College of Education.

The commission, which includes representation from professional associations, institutions of higher education and K-12 school districts, will work to develop a common understanding of effective approaches to field experiences. The group will develop a white paper, to be circulated broadly for input from the field, and will also recommend ways to address common roadblocks to building successful district-university partnerships, such as transportation, funding and scheduling concerns.

“In 2010, the NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships found that clinical preparation was a key lever to high quality teacher preparation,” said Rodrick Lucero, AACTE vice president for member engagement and support, who chairs the commission. “Although we know how essential classroom experiences are to a candidate’s preparation, we also see a broad spectrum of practices being labeled ‘clinical.’ It is high time to create a shared and actionable definition of what high-quality clinical practice looks like to be able to continually improve individual programs and the field as a whole.”
“UK’s College of Education believes strongly in embedded clinical practices through rich partnerships with schools and in other educational settings to provide our candidates with field experiences ‘early and often’ across a variety of diverse settings,” Henry said. “With our college’s focus on a career continuum for Professional Pathways to Educator Excellence as a framework for clinical preparation, we strongly feel that early field experiences (beginning with high school students through PDK International’s Educators Rising program) provides early engagement in education career pathways. At the other end of the career continuum would be National Board Certification and leadership opportunities through a variety of programs, including the Next Generation Leadership Academy. This approach to clinical practice is made possible through our vast network of partnerships with K-12 schools, education agencies, community, and industry partners.”

Current members of the commission include educators involved in AACTE, the Association of Teacher Educators, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the National Association of Professional Development Schools, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the National Network for Educational Renewal, and K-12 schools. Additional information about the work of the CPC is available through AACTE’s EdPrepMatters blog. CPC members will present results of the white paper at AACTE’s annual conference in Las Vegas this month (February 2016).