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Why is Davenport's College of Urban Education a Game Changer?

Why would someone choose DU's programs over another institution?

Davenport University’s Urban Education programs prepare and develop educators in real world settings to meet the unique demands of urban environments. These innovative educator-training programs focus on student learning, prepare content experts in clinical settings and measure progress based on data. Candidates will also use the latest technological teaching tools to advance student learning and the field of Education. In addition, candidates will be assessed on their abilities to perform the skills they learn.

By providing students with “on the job” learning experiences, students are able to determine the most suitable role for them within the field of Education. Likewise, school administrators are able to discover talent they would like to hire.  Those who complete this 36 credit holistic program shall receive a general, non-licensure master’s degree. Teachers who meet and/or exceed practice competencies will have the option of taking three additional credits to add a certificate in teaching.  Additionally, a Masters of Educational Leadership program is available for those in non-teaching roles such as leadership and administration.

Ultimately, our programs differentiate themselves by selecting candidates based on district needs. The program gives candidates more time in the actual school setting to develop 21st century skills as well as the relationships that facilitate learning. University faculty are embedded at the school site to provide immediate feedback. Courses are taught at the school site or online. Candidates are given the technological tools to improve instruction and to collect data. Candidates’ evaluation includes student outcome data. Finally, the curriculum is tied to student outcome data and is assessed by its ability to increase student learning.

How will Davenport’s Urban Education programs address popular concerns with teacher preparation and differentiate themselves from traditional programs?

Content knowledge, unrelated curriculums and insufficient student teaching experiences are chief among the challenges facing colleges of education throughout the United States. 

Content knowledge is a major concern for districts in urban areas, as it is impossible to effectively teach what you do not know. Particularly in science, technology, math, and engineering, the average GPA of teachers in urban communities is lower than their counterparts in suburban districts. Urban districts are also undersupplied in teachers who majored in STEM fields. As a consequence, national accreditors require GPA increases as a way to solidify expertise. Our master’s program requires an average undergraduate grade point average of a 3.0. Candidates' application package must also show evidence of passing Michigan's Professional Readiness Examination and passing scores on the appropriate Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC).

However, we should not only look to GPA or an ability to pass a test as solutions. Certification has long been a poor predictor of teaching success. The goal of our program is to seek out experts who have made a career choice to be a teacher and to refine skills. Over the last two decades, colleges of education have produced professional teachers who have not necessarily mastered a disciplinary area.

Davenport will find candidates who have the foundation to teach from positions of authority and authenticity. Authentic teaching facilitates relationships with a body of knowledge, which bridges students to the larger academic community. This is why school-community connections are critical. Schools without formal agreements with industry, universities, clubs, and political organizations are like musicians without an audience. In addition, we also seek college faculty who will bring expertise to candidates, teachers and students. 

Again, we will go beyond the 3.0 and test-taking. The Urban Education Selection Team, which is comprised of Davenport University admissions counselors, Urban Education faculty and leadership from the school, assemble cohorts based on school and district’s subject area needs. This ensures that we are recruiting teachers in the subject areas with the most immediate need.

Diversity in all its aspects will be considered in developing a cohort. In particular, we will find the best and brightest local talent. The College of Urban Education will certainly recruit men and women from across the country, but the purpose is to build capacity of the communities we serve.

For teacher-preparation candidates, we strive to create coursework which impacts student learning. How do we know if what we’re teaching matters?

We measure it.

From the very start of their program, aspiring teacher candidates are placed in classrooms via practicums. Practicums will continuously present course materials in didactic, virtual, and experiential fashion in order to provide new candidates and employed teachers with strategies to accelerate learning. Half of the practicums’ learning goals aim to advance pedagogical skills in science, math and English language arts.

Professors of practices will monitor and evaluate the demonstration of skills and knowledge through a series of carefully designed assessments. Davenport faculty offices will be at the school site. Embedded faculty provide immediate feedback of candidates’ performance on assigned tasks.

Candidates are assessed against the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards as well as the program’s learning objectives. Candidates must maintain an electronic portfolio, which holds data compiled from continuous observations and student outcome data to show progression toward the competencies identified by the professor of practice. The e-portfolio will also provide future employers with evidence of the candidates' levels of proficiency. 

Students achieve competency through the reinforcement of lessons during various practice opportunities i.e. mentoring, coaching and eventually teaching assignments. Employed teacher candidates will receive continuous professional development and feedback based upon the areas of emphasis the modules present. In essence, candidates are asked to demonstrate mastery of skills identified by the faculty.

Certificate in Urban Education Program

Requirements for MTTC Exams for Professional Readiness (PRE) and Subject Area

I have not yet completed the MTTC exam(s), how do I schedule an exam?

Please visit the MTTC website for information about test preparation and registration. During the registration process, you will need to request that Official Results be sent to Davenport University by supplying an Institution Code. The Davenport University Institution Code is 51.

How many times can I attempt the MTTC exam(s)?

There is no limit to the number of times you may retake any MTTC test or sub-test (PRE only) that you have not yet passed. However, you must wait 60 days between each computer-based attempt of the same test or subtest. See the MTTC website for further information regarding retaking Subject Area Exams or sub-sections of the PRE.

I have already completed MTTC exams, how do I request a copy of Official Score Report?

Students who have taken the exam for another institution and/or did not specifically request that scores be sent to Davenport University (Institution Code 51) at the time of registration must request an additional copy of MTTC Official Score Report be sent to DU directly from MTTC. This will result in an added cost to the student and may delay admission. 

The MTTC Basic Skills and Subject Area competency exams are challenging. For this reason, we strongly encourage applicants to prepare for the MTTC exam(s) by reviewing the information and study materials, including full-length practice tests, available on the MTTC website. Other study materials for the MTTC Basic Skills and Subject Area Competency exams are also available for purchase online.