Shaping The Future of Teacher Preparation Through the Liberal Arts

Through  generous funding from the Mellon Foundation, Middlebury College is hosting a workshop/conference entitled: “Shaping The Future of Teacher Preparation Through the Liberal Arts.” This workshop is for Education faculty from the Mellon 23 institutions: Amherst, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Carleton, Denison, DePauw, Furman, Grinnell, Harvey Mudd, Haverford, Macalester, Middlebury, Oberlin, Pomona, Reed, Rhodes, Scripps, Smith, Swarthmore, Vassar, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Williams.




The conference begins at 4:30 PM on October 29th and extends through 1:00 PM, Sunday October 31st.  The conference will take place in the Axinn Center at Starr Library on the Middlebury College campus.

Background / Impetus for the workshop
Recently, Secretary Duncan stated that despite the expansion of alternative routes to teacher licensure during the previous decade, over three-quarters of current and future teachers will be trained in college and university-based teacher preparation programs. He challenged higher education to revolutionize their practices in light of the many demands that teachers now face.  This proposal seeks to bring together education faculty from Mellon 23 institutions with teacher preparation programs, during summer 2010, for the purpose of crafting a formal response to Secretary Duncan.

Focus Questions:

  1. How should the intellectual tradition of the Liberal Arts shape the national discussion regarding “revolutionizing” teacher preparation?

  2. Is it possible to define a set of common expectations regarding what constitutes a good teacher while simultaneously fostering dynamic and diverse models for achieving those expectations?  How can Liberal Arts models of teacher preparation contribute to national discussions regarding good teaching and effective teacher preparation?

  3. Secretary Duncan is calling for national standards linked to high stakes exams with an emphasis on “data driven instruction.” What kinds of data about student achievement and teacher effectiveness should guide instruction? What lessons from the Liberal Arts tradition should inform our thinking regarding notions of assessment and achievement?

  4. Within the field of education, induction, mentoring and support towards mastery have been the responsibility of school districts rather than schools of education. Is it possible to define coherent paths that support intellectual growth from beginner to master teacher, while also fostering diverse means whereby such mastery might be achieved?  What would be the role of preparation programs at Liberal Arts colleges in providing such ongoing intellectual and pedagogical growth for teachers? What current models show the greatest potential?

Intended Outcome
Our intent is for the meeting participants to engage the focus questions for the purpose of producing both a statement of principles and specific recommendations based on those principles.  This statement would be published in written form and posted on the departmental websites of participating Mellon institutions.  In addition, the Middlebury College Education Studies Program will establish a blog site to invite ongoing responses and critiques of this statement. The statement and summaries of blog postings would then serve as the centerpiece for a panel presentation at the spring 2011 annual conference of the American Educational Research Organization.


Contact Personnel at Middlebury College:
Jonathan Miller-Lane, Assistant Professor of Education,
Tara Affolter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Education,
Trish Dougherty, Academic Coordinator, Education Studies Program


The Planning Group for the Mellon 23 conference also includes:

Lee Anne Bell, Ph.D. Professor of Education and Barbara Silver Horowitz Director of Education, Barnard College.

Maria Hantzopoulos, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Education, Coordinator of Teacher Education, Vassar College.

Kenneth Hawes, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Education, Wellesley College.

Alice Lesnick, Ph.D. Senior Lecturer in Education and Director, Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program.

Lisa Smulyan, Ed.D. Professor of Education Studies, Swarthmore College.


We will provide coffee, tea, water and light refreshments during each day.  Middlebury College will host an informal dinner on Friday evening and provide lunch on Saturday.  Other meals are the responsibility of participants.  Please note Saturday evening dinner will include small group work.

Getting Here
If your institution is a member of the Mellon 23 Consortium funding is available up to $900 per institution.  This amount is per institution, not per individual.  Faculty at each member institution must decide how best to share the resources.  Click here to see the travel reimbursement form for allowable expenses.  Travel ReimbursementTravel Reimbursement

Special rates for conference participants have been arranged at the Middlebury Inn 800-842-4666.  Please reference the Mellon Conference and try to make your reservation 30 days in advance.  Directions to campus are available here.

*Please follow this link to register for the conference. You can only register once for the conference, if you'd like to update any information please email Trish Dougherty, coordinator.



Program in Education Studies

Twilight Hall
50 Franklin Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

fax 802.443.6010