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faculty members
From left are UTSA faculty members Miriam Martinez, Karla Broadus, Charmaine Bride,
Mary Lou Adams, Roxanne Henkin, Betty Merchant, Jack Cassidy, Rosalind Horowitz,
Susan Keehn, Janis Harmon, Misty Sailors, and Bertha Perez.

Teacher program awarded certificate of distinction

By Ashley Harris
Public Affairs Specialist

(May 20, 2008)--UTSA's reading teacher preparation program in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) is the first recipient of the International Reading Association (IRA) Certificate of Distinction. The award was presented this month at the annual IRA convention in Atlanta.

The IRA recognition program was introduced in fall 2007 to honor outstanding higher education programs that prepare elementary and secondary teachers. Part of the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching, the UTSA teacher-prep program was created approximately 15 years ago to help aspiring teachers understand how children acquire language and literacy skills and to provide them with teaching strategies.

The IRA-appointed task force reviewed finalist universities during three-day site visits last spring. UTSA's reading preparation program underwent a rigorous review based on six key standards and elements in the areas of content, faculty and teaching, apprenticeships, field experience and practica, diversity, candidate and program assessment and governance, resources and vision.

During the UTSA visit, IRA task force members met with COEHD faculty, administrators and students along with representatives from area schools in which UTSA COEHD students teach.

"This is a significant honor for our department," said Bertha Perez, professor of bicultural bilingual studies. "It recognizes not only the quality of our students, but also of our teacher preparation programs."

Interdisciplinary learning and teaching faculty members Kimberly Cuero, Janis Harmon, Roxanne Henkin, Rosalind Horowitz, Susan Keehn, Miriam Martinez, Bertha Perez and Misty Sailors were pivotal in the department's success during the review process.

Task force reviewers noted the overall strength of the COEHD reading preparation program, specifically in the area of partnerships, mentoring of adjunct faculty and the balance between program teaching, evaluation efforts, sequencing and nature of field experiences, and faculty research.

Approximately 1,000 UTSA teaching candidates are enrolled in the EC-4 certification and 132 are enrolled in the 4-8 certification programs. Additionally, 57 percent of students enrolled in EC-4 and 45 percent of students enrolled in the 4-8 programs are the first in their families to pursue higher education.

"The true benefit of this award is that it will allow us to continue to recruit the best students for this program, and at the same time it also spurs us to seek out similar honors for our many other distinguished programs," Perez said.

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