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EOU receives innovation award, credited for impacting students’ ability to attend college
La GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University (EOU) has received the Colleagues’ Choice Innovation Award, from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, for its program that focuses on training culturally responsive teachers who work with students from diverse backgrounds.
The Oregon Teacher Pathway (OTP) program at EOU offers high school students dual credit courses in introduction to education and culturally responsive practices and a weekly field experience tutoring elementary school students. The OTP program aims to strengthen the workforce pipeline of quality, trained, and diverse educators. Research shows that students of color achieve higher academic success when exposed to teachers of color and trained in culturally responsive practices.
Students from diverse backgrounds make up a third of the student population in Oregon public schools.
“Relationships are critical to the success of the Oregon Teacher Pathway program,” said Rae Ette Newman, interim dean, of the College of Education at EOU. “I nominated this program because our work is creating connections, impacting students’ ability to attend college, and building a sense of pride in the community.”
EOU was presented with the award from the Western Academic Leadership Forum during its annual meeting in Tucson, Arizona. The award recognizes innovative achievements among four-year institutions and systems in the West that advance equity for student success.
“We are honored to have been selected for this award,” said OTP Director Tawnya Lubbes. “As a grow-your-own teaching program, our practices have proved successful through partnerships in regional schools. The program provides a promising pathway for students to reach their career goals while building strong educators who serve their communities in a culturally and linguistically responsive way.”
Oregon high school students can enroll in a year-long course worth four college credits, work with mentors, interact with leading scholars, conduct research, and visit the EOU campus in La Grande, Oregon.
Program participants qualify for a tuition discount at EOU and agree to mentor high school students in their home communities and fellow college students pursuing teacher education. They also receive mentorship and professional development including interaction with national scholars during their collegiate studies and are supported into their first years of teaching.
Since 2015, the program has had 334 high school students participate, with 113 choosing EOU to pursue studies in teacher preparation with a 93% retention rate. With 37 program graduates, 89% are currently teaching in rural Oregon. The program is funded by state grants through the Educator Advancement Council and a partnership with EOU. Visit www.eou.edu/otp to learn more.
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