Elementary Education Takes Seat in Front

In the latest National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) report, Teacher Prep Review: Program Diversity and Admissions 2021Stetson University’s Elementary Education program placed in the top 5% (59 out of 1,256 institutions) nationally for admission standards and diversity, and is one of three leading universities in Florida.

“The education department’s strategic plan has a focus on program diversity and recruiting a diverse teacher workforce,” said Chris Colwell, EdD, Department of Education chair and associate professor at Stetson (shown in photo). “The national recognition of the work that the entire Stetson community supports in identifying, recruiting and graduating talented and diverse educators is a wonderful achievement.”

Founded in 2000, NCTQ is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and policy organization that is committed to modernizing the teaching profession. The institution’s report analyzed the diversity of elementary teacher preparation programs by comparing the diversity of the teacher candidates enrolled in the program to the diversity of the state teacher workforce and local community where the program is located.

NCTQ also evaluated the elementary education programs’ admission standards by ensuring that they met the requirements, including SAT/ACT performance, audition expectations and minimum GPA for each applicant, or average GPA for each cohort of new teacher candidates.

A diverse teacher workforce exposes students to various cultural and social groups, and helps students become better citizens in their communities.

In 2019, research published in Sage Journals’ Review of Educational Research showed that black students and Latino/a students scored higher on standardized tests and had more positive behavioral outcomes when they were assigned to a teacher of the same race/ethnicity.

“The diversity in our nation’s P-12 schools is a source of strength,” said Colwell. “Diversity also is one of Stetson University’s core strengths. It is critical that educators at all levels represent the knowledge, skills and experience of a diverse workforce.” 

In addition to Stetson, other Florida colleges on the list include the University of South Florida and Florida International University.

-Sandra Carr