AACTE's Innovation Exchange supports university-based educator preparation programs in responding to the changing demands of the workforce and in preparing educators to meet the needs of PK-12 learners. This initiative is a vehicle for members of AACTE to use and share their innovative approaches, new technologies, and transformative practices in educator preparation. Guided by the results of these efforts, the Innovation Exchange promotes interaction and collaboration within the professional community that will advance educator preparation.
The Innovation Exchange supports innovation in the professional community and speeds the pace of change by creating a forum in which AACTE's members, partners, and other professional colleagues can share experiences and findings as they address the most urgent issues of student achievement, curriculum reform, and preparation program advancement. Through the Innovation Exchange, AACTE strengthens educator preparation, demonstrates the necessity and effectiveness of educator preparation, increases member engagement, and strengthens the benefits of AACTE membership.
The activity and programming of the Innovation Exchange are guided by the following four interdependent components:
- The Pedagogy component supports research and innovation in the development of pedagogical content preparation and practice in educator preparation. As educator preparation rises to the challenge of producing the next generation of educators, being responsive to student needs means preparing educators to select content and pedagogical methods that support the actualization of curriculum objectives.
- The Workforce Development component supports preparation programs' response to the demands of the marketplace. Of primary concern are developing efficacious conditions of clinical practice, reorienting initial licensure and program approval to performance-based criteria, and addressing workforce deployment issues and the equitable distribution of teacher talent.
- The Capacity Building component supports programs in developing data infrastructures that can assist with program improvements and provide the public with confidence in program quality. As a part of this component, AACTE is building a network of learning communities to connect members to each other as they engage to improve what they do in all areas of the Innovation Exchange.
- The Documentation & Synthesizing Research component supports the collection, documentation, and dissemination of data that fuel program improvement.
The Pedagogy component features the following offerings:
Innovations Inventory – The Innovations Inventory is an online database highlighting members' innovative practices that provide educator candidates a competitive edge in the field. Two distinct processes have been established to collect inventive works of excellence in the field of educator preparation that address issues of student learning, preparation program advancement, or educator workforce needs and that show evidence of positive impact on those areas.
- Peer Review is the process by which submissions will be reviewed by professionals in the field with a view to improve quality and uphold rigorous standards.
- Non Peer Review is the process by which submissions will be reviewed by leaders at the national AACTE headquarters with the goal to highlight exceptional, cutting-edge methods.
The reviewed submissions are included in a directory, and exemplary programs are highlighted periodically on the Innovation Exchange website, in publications, and through several other outlets.
Each of the submissions is categorized by relevant topic(s) in the Innovations Inventory directory, allowing viewers to quickly access topic areas they are interested in learning about. The topics in the directory will expand as more submissions are received and catalogued.
The Workforce Development component features the following offerings:
Educator Workforce Advisory Task Force – The goal of this project is to leverage the resources of various stakeholders in the education system to increase novice teacher retention in high-need school districts and schools.
AACTE members are dedicated to preparing high-quality teachers who can improve student learning, but because preparation alone is not sufficient to retain quality teachers in the workforce, institutions increasingly are partnering with their local schools and school districts to improve retention of novice teachers. AACTE is eager to promote successful strategies for such collaborative retention initiatives.
The Capacity Building component features the following offerings:
Teacher Pipeline – AACTE has launched several initiatives dedicated to nurturing future teachers beginning in high school extending through college and into the educator profession.
- Educators Rising – AACTE works in partnership with Educators Rising to support efforts that groom the next generation of teachers by guiding young people on a path for becoming accomplished teachers.
- Educational Leadership – The Principal Pipeline Initiative is a multiyear effort in partnership with The Wallace Foundation to strengthen the preparation and support of Principals in high need areas. The program focuses on ways to improve recruitment, selection and training of candidates as well as hiring and on-the-job support for new principals.
- Holmes Program Expansion – AACTE is expanding the Holmes Program to support students at earlier points in their education careers. The expanded programs will provide mentorship, peer support, and professional development opportunities at four levels: AACTE Holmes Cadets Program will support high school students interested in a career in teaching, school administration, or the professoriate; AACTE Holmes Honors Program will support undergraduates; AACTE Holmes Master's Program will support master's students; and AACTE Holmes Scholars Program will continue to support doctoral students.
Clinical Practice Commission – The Clinical Practice Commission (CPC) is charged with identifying a set of criteria that define clinical practice, lifting up exemplary models in the field and ultimately publishing a set of recommendations for teacher preparation programs nationwide.
Research-to-Practice Spotlights – The Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series connects the research on educator preparation with practice in the field. Organized around an annual theme, the series delivers multimedia installments that make explicit the connections between research and practice in educator preparation.
Networked Improvement Community – A “Networked Improvement Community,” or NIC is characterized by its focus on a well-defined common aim, its deep understanding of a problem and the system that produces it, its disciplined application of improvement science to the problem, and its network of participants. The network accelerates the development, testing, and refining of interventions then spreads those interventions into a variety of contexts. This NIC is focused on changing the demographic makeup of the teaching workforce, specifically by helping institutions increase the percentage of Black and Hispanic men receiving initial teaching certification through educator preparation programs.
Topical Action Groups – Topical Action Groups (TAGs) provide a forum for individuals drawn together by a common interest or purpose within the field of educator preparation. AACTE provides TAGs with operational funds, publicity, online meeting and administrative space, staff support, meeting space at the AACTE Annual Meeting, and the prestige of AACTE affiliation.
The Documentation and Synthesizing Research component features the following offerings:
Research Fellowship in Educator Preparation – The AACTE Research Fellowship in Educator Preparation engages education scholars in collecting, documenting, and disseminating research on innovative educator preparation practices to fuel program improvement and influence policy decisions. Through this program, AACTE supports teams of established and emerging researchers with the goal of developing a sustained research agenda on high-impact practices, dynamics and economics of educator workforce development, and other critical issues in educator preparation.
Journal of Teacher Education – The Journal of Teacher Education (JTE), the official journal of AACTE, has been a leading voice in the field of teacher preparation for more than 65 years and is one of the most widely read professional journals in the field. JTE's five peer-reviewed issues per volume year contain thematic and general interest articles as well as editorials and book reviews. Its content focuses on policy, practice, and research that contribute to teacher preparation as a field of inquiry along numerous themes, including accreditation, assessment and evaluation, extended programs, teacher education faculty, student teaching, and others.
Outstanding Book Award – This award recognizes exemplary books that make a significant contribution to the knowledge base of educator preparation or of teaching and learning with implications for educator preparation.
Outstanding Dissertation Award – This award recognizes excellence in doctoral dissertation research that contributes to the knowledge base of educator preparation or of teaching and learning with implications for educator preparation.