The preparation of teachers has long been a key commitment at Michigan State University. In 2002, MSU took yet another major step forward when it became part of the Carnegie Corporation of New York's groundbreaking reform initiative known as Teachers for a New Era (TNE).

Of the nearly 1,400 American universities that prepare teachers, only MSU, Bank Street College of Education in New York, California State University at Northridge, and the University of Virginia were asked to be part of the multimillion dollar project in its first year.

The philanthropy's goal for TNE is to establish nationally recognized "exemplars" of outstanding teacher preparation. Carnegie expects that the success of MSU and the other institutions, their graduates and the research produced in the coming years will challenge other universities to follow these ideas.

In announcing the selection of the four institutions, Carnegie President Vartan Gregorian said, "Teaching reform is central to school reform, and these institutions are pioneers in the movement. If we really want to improve student achievement, we have no choice but to improve teaching."

As part of the project, MSU will receive $5 million over five years to establish a model for preparing high-quality teachers for the myriad demands of the contemporary American classroom. In addition to the Carnegie Corporation, other funders include the Ford, Annenberg and Rockefeller foundations. The University is expected to raise an additional $5 million to further the project activities.

The MSU Vision

The TNE initiative treats teacher education as a university-wide responsibility that includes general, subject area, and professional education courses, as well as experience in K-12 schools. A unique aspect of MSU's approach is a focus on the kinds of subject matter knowledge would-be teachers need to improve student learning. Plans call for revising or creating (new) courses and developing new coalitions of university and K-12 school faculty. Another emphasis involves an understanding of context: the characteristics of the students, the schools, the communities in which they teach.

Assessment is pivotal to all aspects of the MSU initiative. The project is committed to identifying or developing assessment tools and promoting their use in continual program improvement and in tracking student progress. Another important goal is to have graduates use assessment tools as an integral part of their teaching to support student learning.

To provide continuing support and promote the continuing professional development of MSU-trained teachers, a newly-devised induction program will be available to graduates in the first two years of their careers. 


After five years, MSU expects that its university-wide teacher education program will be preparing teachers who are more knowledgeable and skilled in their subject areas, better able to teach their subject to diverse learners, and more proficient in using assessment information to guide their teaching. MSU expects that its experiences and results will serve as a model of teacher education reform for other programs and institutions.

MSU's Teachers for a New Era project will lead to changes in five areas of teacher preparation:

  • design of new content courses in English, mathematics, the social sciences, and the sciences that are well integrated with education courses focusing on pedagogy and student learning

  • overhaul of education coursework and teacher education field experiences, both in subject matter and teaching methods so that content and context are central

  • development of a new two-year induction program for beginning MSU teachers

  • creation of a new MSU focus on preparing teachers for urban schools and educating more teachers from groups of people underrepresented in the teaching profession

  • use of assessments to strengthen the entire MSU teacher education program and evaluate its effectiveness

Michigan State University's highly regarded teacher preparation program has been a leader in the reform and development of teacher education for nearly 30 years. MSU has been a frontrunner as an advocate of extended field experience in schools for MSU students and strong content preparation of teachers. MSU's program has led the country in building deep connections with K-12 schools, as well as implementing a successful fifth-year internship program for new teachers. Through the Teachers for a New Era initiative, MSU will help lead the way into a new era of modeling teacher education as a university-wide responsibility.

Back to top

Pages developed and maintained by College of Education
Michigan State University, Copyright 2003
College of Education
Erickson Hall, MSU
East Lansing, MI 48824