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UTSA and Northwest Vista College aim to diversify teacher pipeline with new program

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The UTSA Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) and Northwest Vista College (NVC) have established the Latino-Teacher Academy Learning Community (Latino-TALC) project with $3.75 million in federal funding from the United States Department of Education through the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program.

The five-year project aims to provide a smooth transition for teacher candidates from Northwest Vista College to UTSA, increase Hispanic teacher graduation rates, and to ultimately diversify the teacher pipeline.

About 70 percent of students in UTSA’s teacher preparation programs came from community colleges, said Lorena Claeys, lead principal investigator and executive director and research associate in the Academy for Teacher Excellence.

This partnership will strengthen student support services including academic, faculty-student engagement, student leadership, and personal psychosocial-emotional support.

“Latino-TALC will provide teacher candidates support as they navigate from a learning community to a professional learning network as they embark into the teaching profession,” said Claeys.

The main goals of Latino-TALC include:

  • Increasing the number of Hispanic students prepared to enroll at Northwest Vista College and UTSA as education majors
  • Increasing the number of Hispanic and underrepresented students graduating from Northwest Vista College and transferring to UTSA and majoring in education
  • Increasing the number of online and face-to-face academic advising, psychosocial, and culturally relevant support systems available to Hispanic and underrepresented groups majoring in education within one or more of the critical teaching shortage areas
  • Creating a community of leaders composed of faculty, staff, and administrators from Northwest Vista College, UTSA, and partner high schools to create a college-going culture and strengthen the teacher pipeline
  • Evaluating best practices in increasing Hispanic and high-need students’ college completion rates among teacher candidates and create a model that can be replicated at other institutions

As part of the Latino-TALC project, researchers will reach out to local high schools to enroll, prepare, support and graduate a higher number of certified Hispanic teacher candidates to teach bilingual education, English as a second language, mathematics and science in public schools.

“It’s important to have greater teacher diversity to reflect the culturally diverse population they teach,” said Claeys. “Latino students and other students of color have limited access to role models during academic development and research shows that all students benefit academically by having a teacher of color instructing them.” 

Claeys is working with co-principal investigators, Belinda Bustos Flores, UTSA professor and associate dean of professional preparation, assessment, and accreditation, Norma Guerra, associate professor and associate dean for undergraduate studies at UTSA and Margarita Machado-Casas, professor and chair for the Dual Language Department at San Diego State University on this project.

“Latino-TALC project is grounded in our research that has been disseminated over the last 15 years, which will greatly ensure the success of the teacher candidates and the program. We plan to continue examining and refining our present model through this project, so we can continue being leaders in this area,” according to Bustos Flores.

Claudia Verdín, professor of mathematics, and NSF MIM Scholarship Program Director, is the co-principal investigator at Northwest Vista College.

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) is the leading provider of educators in the San Antonio area and one of the largest in Texas. COEHD is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through teaching and learning, research and discovery, community engagement and public service.

Photo courtesy of University Communications

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UTSA College of Education and Human Development

Phone: 210-458-4370