About the Center
The quality of life of a community is transformed as the level of education of its citizens increases. Businesses are attracted to establish new sites and add additional jobs to the local economy as the supply of well educated and trained workers are available. The wages of the workers are increased as the level of education and skills are elevated thus improving the overall economic condition of the community. The society that we live in is changing at a very rapid rate and requires that our teachers be well prepared and empowered to equip their students to be endowed with the critical cognitive and affective skills and technology expertise to meet the expectations of the community.
The College of Education (COE) at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College currently has a service area of thirteen school districts with a combined student enrollment of more than 200,000 students and employ approximately 10,000 teachers. A large majority of these students enter school with Spanish as their first language and require that schools provide bilingual/bicultural instruction. As a result there is a high need for teachers that have been prepared and certified in bilingual education.
The College of Education has graduated and certified a total of eight hundred and eighteen new teachers in the last three years, approximately twenty five per cent of all new teachers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, with an overall average pass rate on the State required certification exams of 95%, which highly exceeds the expected rate by more than twenty points (See Table A).
The areas of highest need in the local school districts are elementary education/early childhood with teaching specializations in bilingual education and English as a Second Language and these are the programs completed by the largest percentage of our students. Nationally there is a high demand for secondary science and mathematics teachers. The latest figures indicate that UTB/TSC graduates completed math-teaching certification with an overall pass rate of 97% and completed science-teaching certification with a pass rate of 86%.
The College of Education continues to revise and update curricula to insure that our future teachers are afforded the most current preparation. Students are provided opportunities in their university courses to work in the classrooms of master teachers in the surrounding public schools. Activities that are available for them include working with students one on one, in small group instruction, classroom and lesson planning and designing lessons and making presentations incorporating the latest teaching strategies and technology.
The graduate programs of study of the College of Education comprise 57% of the total graduate enrollment of the University. The College of Education houses the only doctoral studies degree in the University. With its array of graduate degree offerings, the College has graduated professionals who have assumed positions of leadership that have significantly impacted the public and private educational system of the Rio Grande Valley and other major cities. We have proudly graduated superintendents, principals, central district office directors, educational diagnosticians, educational technologist, and school counselors all prepared to address the bicultural, intercultural needs of the students they serve.
Our superintendents, school counselors and educational diagnostician students pass the state certification exams at a very high rate. (See Table B).
On the other hand, the CEDI expands the present work of the bilingual/ESL and intercultural studies faculty in several ways. The Center supports the colleges and schools across campus by helping faculty understand the unique characteristics of the UTB student body. Bilingual faculty partner with faculty from other colleges and schools to help develop innovative teaching approaches and modify curriculum to support the academic language development of bilingual students. This project has begun with the Physics Department through a grant proposal. The Center also provides bilingual resources for faculty in other departments and for teachers in the Rio Grande Valley and in Mexico. It also serves as a liaison between Mexican educators and educators in the Rio Grande Valley. Further, the Center is establishing a district Bilingual Advisory Board from UTB drawing administrators from local districts to meet and discuss needs of their bilingual students and teachers. Finally, the Center is a research center for doctoral and M.Ed. students and holds a conference drawing on departmental faculty, doctoral candidates, and M.Ed. students who share their research with UTB faculty from other colleges and schools, and the Texas Center for Border and Transnational Studies, as well as with local teachers and other professional of the field of education and related disciplines.
Our doctoral degree is in curriculum and instruction with specialization tracks in Bilingual Studies, Early Childhood Education, Literacy, Educational Leadership, Educational Technology and Higher Education Teaching will strengthen the leadership ranks of educators whose responsibility it is to insure that the children of our community achieve and succeed in all education endeavors.
Thus, CEDI is uniquely positioned to strengthen the teaching and research mission of The University with its emphasis on the study of intercultural dimensions in teaching, professional development, research, and public service. The Center will establish itself as a leader in the nation on research leading to innovative practice with respect to student achievement and second language acquisition as a result of the rich opportunities that the geographic location of this University provides.
The Center scholars have the extraordinary opportunity to not only research theoretical constructs in motivation and cognition but to test theory in the design of innovative practice. With the Center’s commitment to comparative studies in intercultural education that goes beyond borders, the strategic value of the Center will meet a national need as our country continues to see an increase in its Spanish Speaking Minority population. Already, one graduate program of the College of Education has been recognized by the University of Texas System to receive its prestigious inaugural award for Innovations in Education. This award was given to the graduate program in Counseling and Guidance for its bilingual curriculum and establishment of a Community Counseling Clinic staffed with bilingually prepared counselors. Establishing models of innovated practice based on sound research with bilingual populations is the essence of the work of the Center.
Prisci Roca Tipton, M.B.A.
Director, Office of
Research and Grants
Fax: (956) 882-7847