Successful practices in teacher recruitment, preparation and retention as perceived by the Texas A&M University System Regents' Initiative project directors



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Texas A&M University


The purpose of the study is to identify the perceived successful practices that led to improved teacher recruitment, preparation and retention efforts within the nine universities of The Texas A&M University System brought about by the Regents' Initiative for Excellence in Education. The data for this study, gathered through interviews, document reviews and observation, revealed that the Regents' Initiative was considered by project directors to be a challenging but rewarding educational reform initiative. The lessons learned through the experience reflect the general findings common to the research literature on school-university partnerships. Research findings of this study revealed that the successful implementation of the Regents' Initiative involved strategies to overcome challenges and develop processes for recruiting, improving teacher preparation and teacher retention. Selecting the right person as the teacher recruiter was paramount to the successful attainment of A&M System university teacher recruitment goals. Operationalizing teacher recruiting included developing recruiting targets, organizing data management, tracking student recruits in the teacher preparation pipeline and periodically reporting progress to stakeholders. Quality improvement of teacher preparation involved recruiting higher achieving high school and community college students, setting higher standards for teacher candidate performance and aligning course curriculum within the college of education and with community college partners to the state standards. Institutional leadership was required to promote and build meaningful partnerships combining efforts to recruit, prepare and retain quality teachers in the profession. A&M System institutions developed a communications campaign to build legislative, institutional and public awareness and support of the Initiative. Institutional involvement was broadened by providing opportunities for interaction between arts and sciences faculty and college of education faculty through collaborative research grants, presentation conferences and symposia. Finally, the successes were celebrated with all stakeholders, and rewards were provided to those who made significant contributions to the effort.