Illuminating teacher education at minority-serving institutions

March 21, 2017

The legacy and importance of minority-serving institutions (MSIs) for teacher education is celebrated in a new book co-edited by an MSU College of Education faculty member.

Emery Petchauer, an associate professor of teacher education, helped write and facilitate the creation of “Teacher Education across Minority-Serving Institutions: Programs, Policies and Social Justice.” The book is the first of its kind to address teacher education at MSIs; it brings together a collective work from faculty and researchers in and around MSIs to examine racial diversity and develop justice-oriented and asset-based pedagogies.

Together, four kinds of institutions constitute MSIs: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Asian-American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions.

Petchauer spent the first six years of his teaching career at Lincoln University, an HBCU, along with the co-editor of the book, Lynnette Mawhinney, an associate professor at The College of New Jersey.

“We started learning about unique, important and innovative things happening in teacher education at MSIs,” said Petchauer, who has a joint appointment with the Department of English at MSU. He joined the MSU faculty in fall 2016.  “We thought that this work needed to be more visible in higher education and teacher education.”

Petchauer and Mawhinney sent out a call for submissions and collaborated with the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania. Their aim was to fully represent the multitude of MSIs around the U.S. and to show that the teacher education work being done at these institutions can be useful to any higher education institution.

“A lot of the challenges that predominantly white institutions are now beginning to have to deal with—declining enrollment in teacher education, doing more with less, preparing teacher education students to pass high-stakes licensure exams—are issues that MSIs have been confronting and succeeding with for a long time,” Petchauer said.

Petchauer hopes that through the book, scholars, policymakers and teacher educators alike begin to think about MSIs more broadly, “like a family of institutions that have similarities and differences—but strengths in the differences and diversity.” He hopes everyone sees the uniqueness in MSIs, and can learn from the examples that they set.

“It’s common knowledge that we need a more racially diverse teaching profession. Minority-serving institutions produce an enormous proportion of teachers of color,” Petchauer added. “If we want a more racially diverse teaching profession, minority-serving institutions are one of the first places to invest.”

“Teacher Education across Minority-Serving Institutions: Programs, Policies and Social Justice,” published through Rutgers University Press, is now available.