AU teacher prep program lauded for diversity efforts

ASHLAND, Ohio - Ashland University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been named among the top in the country for contributing to greater teacher diversity by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization.

Ashland’s program is among only 21 percent of the 1,256 NCTQ evaluated across the country and among only eight programs in Ohio to be recognized in a new NCTQ report for enrolling a cohort of future teachers that is both more racially diverse than the current teacher workforce in their state and reflects the racial diversity of their local community.

According to the dean, Dr. Donna Breault, "The Dwight Schar College of Education prioritizes diversity in its curriculum and well as in its recruitment of faculty and students. Diversity, equity, and social justice are key elements within our work. We recognize the historical absence of teachers and leaders of color in America’s schools. Not only do we strive to increase the number of teachers and school leaders of color, but we also work to ensure that all teachers recognize their role in addressing prejudice and systems of injustice within their spheres of influence."

A diverse teacher workforce benefits all students, particularly those of color. Research has found that having same-race teachers increases student achievement and improves the likelihood of graduating high school and attending college for students of color. Recruiting a racially diverse cohort of future teachers into preparation programs is a first and necessary step in the path to a more diverse teacher workforce.

"A diverse teacher workforce is essential if we are to achieve a high quality teacher workforce. One can't happen without the other. Teacher prep programs are well-positioned to take the lead," said NCTQ President Kate Walsh . "We applaud programs like Ashland University that are leading the way."

In the Teacher Prep Review: Program Diversity and Admissions (2021) report, NCTQ analyzed the diversity of each elementary teacher preparation program by comparing the diversity of the teacher candidates enrolled in the program to two factors: the diversity of the state teacher workforce and the diversity of the local community where the program is located.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.eduvalues the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.###