There is a constant need for the state and country to identify, recruit and develop quality teachers and leaders. The research clearly shows that teacher and leadership quality significantly impact students’ academic outcomes. University-based teacher and leader training programs must be included in the country’s efforts to reform its educational systems.
Davenport’s College of Urban Education specifically focuses on the preparation and development of professionals serving urban schools. Its programs foster the development of relationships, knowledge and skills that lead to highly effective teaching and leadership. The college’s "on-the-job" training method prepares teachers to differentiate their instruction to reach all children, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities.
The College of Education follows the principals recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships prepared by NCATE and released in the report, Transforming Teacher Education through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers for Improved Student Learning in 2010. These principles were later reinforced by the newly released standards of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and directly address closing "the gap between how teachers are prepared and what schools need." The recommended design principles for clinically-based programs and strategies that are incorporated in the College of Urban Education’s academic include:
- Student learning as the focus.
- Clinical preparation integrated throughout every facet of teacher education in a dynamic way.
- A candidate's progress and the elements of a preparation program are continuously assessed on the basis of data.
- Programs prepare teachers, who are expert in content, on how to teach it and how to be innovators, collaborators and problem solvers.
- Candidates learn in an interactive professional community.
- Clinical educators and coaches are drawn from both higher education and the K-12 sector.
- Specific sites are designated and funded to support embedded clinical preparation.
- Technology applications foster high-impact preparation.
- A powerful research and development agenda and systematic gathering and use of data support continuous improvement in teacher preparation.
- Strategic partnerships are imperative for powerful clinical preparation.
Davenport University is responding to the country and state’s need for quality teachers and leaders by creating new prototypes for the 21st century. This paradigm shift will increase the effectiveness in preparing urban students for success.
For more information see our individual program pages for Masters of Urban Education, Certificate in Urban Education, Masters of Urban Educational Leadership and Certificate in Urban Educational Leadership.
Meet the team
Susan Gunn, Ph.D. is currently Dean of the College of Urban Education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to this appointment, she held the dual position of Associate Dean of the College of Urban Education and Science Department Chair in Davenport’s College of Arts and Science. Dr. Gunn possesses a B.S. in Education and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Gunn has extensive experience in program and curriculum development, faculty recruitment, mentoring, supervision, strategic planning, evaluation, research, fiscal monitoring and budget management. At Davenport, she has created degree programs and developed STEM-based community outreach academic summer camp programs. Dr. Gunn has extensive teaching experience which covers a broad range from high school to college to medical school programs. One of her focused interests is to help develop well-trained STEM educators who can impart the importance of science to PK-12 students. Dr. Gunn is passionate about urban education, having been herself a product of Detroit Public Schools. Dr. Gunn often stresses her passion for helping students of color and other marginalized youth to obtain a quality, college/career-ready education, which is critical for success in the 21st century.
Dr. Rajah E. Smart is currently Department Chair of the College of Urban Education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Before his work with Davenport, Dr. Smart was an education consultant with the Michigan Department of Education working and collaborating with higher education institutions in accreditation, program approval and certification, as well as supporting school districts across the state of Michigan. With over 20 years in urban education and as a product of Flint Community Schools, his experience as a teacher, school administrator and trainer provides him the context to be passionate about education for all students. That passion has also helped him write seven fictional novels that focus on social context, and he is publishing a research study focusing on his interest in resource allocation practices in schools. Dr. Smart is currently in the dissertation phase to earn his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Michigan with a focus on resource allocation practices and student performance.