2013 Award Winner: Department of Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education, UNL
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, a foundational unit within the university, is home to about 40 faculty and 1,800 student majors at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. The department leads teacher preparation in Nebraska, playing a pivotal role in meeting the state’s need for high-quality teachers – a demand that has become more complex as technological, economic and demographic transformations sweep Nebraska. The department produces more teachers than any other Nebraska institution and offers the only doctoral programs in teacher education in the state. In addition, the department provides professional development programs to practicing teachers, including in high-need areas such as English language learning, mathematics and science.
Faculty within the department are charged with creating and maintaining a climate that promotes a respect for good teaching practice. They have engaged in a number of initiatives and innovations aimed at improving teaching and learning. For example:
- Like the University of Nebraska, the department increasingly is globally engaged. Recent initiatives include student teaching exchanges in Spain, educational fact-finding trips to Korea and South Africa and delegation visits from Mexico and China. The department has been recognized by the Institute of International Education for its efforts, which have expanded research and education opportunities for faculty and students.
- The department is actively exploring opportunities to leverage technology to meet the needs of the 21st-century global economy. Novel technologies are incorporated into the curriculum so that the department produces teachers who are prepared to meet the needs of tomorrow’s students. Additionally, the department has expanded its course offerings online to make education accessible to more students.
- The department is a model for multidisciplinary collaboration, having partnered with numerous other departments across campus for enhanced program development, teaching and research funding.
- The department has earned a reputation for the scope and quality of its engagement with undergraduate research. Since 2003, more than 20 department faculty members have mentored more than 200 students through the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences (UCARE) program.