The CSUDH College of Education has been awarded $1.59 million through the U.S. Department of Education’s first-ever Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program, which aims to increase high-quality teacher preparation programs for teachers of color, diversify the teacher pipeline, and address teacher shortages.
CSUDH was the only California university represented among the twelve institutions of higher education awardees, which were announced Feb. 15.
The award also marks CSUDH’s second major Department of Education grant this academic year. Last fall, the College of Education was awarded $2.571 million for Project MEDALLA (Multilingual Educator Development Advancing Language Learning Achievement/Activism), which aims to create a network of certified bilingual educators in the greater Los Angeles area.
“These awards are a testament to the critical work CSUDH has been doing for years in teacher education,” said College of Education Dean Jessica Zacher Pandya. “With these additional resources, we can continue to produce the passionate, dedicated, and culturally-conscious teachers that Southern California needs.”
The funds will support Multilingual/Minoritized Educators Networked-Learning and Development (MEND), CSUDH’s project to dramatically increase and retain the number of multilingual and minoritized teachers in Southern California. MEND will specifically target CSUDH’s elementary education teacher preparation program, focusing on pre-service teachers’ wellness, academic pursuits, and high-quality early clinical experiences in schools.
“In Los Angeles County, we have such diversity in language education and language experiences,” said Pablo Ramirez, CSUDH Professor of Teacher Education and MEND Co-Principal Investigator. “We are seeking to transform teacher education so that it’s reflective of the needs of our communities.”
The first MEND Fellows cohort will be recruited from the College of Education’s Liberal Studies undergraduate program, with subsequent cohorts recruited from Ethnic Studies majors and students interested in earning their bilingual authorization. Fellows will be connected with credential program alumni who will serve as MENDtor teachers, and the program will also share best practices with school district partners.
Associate Professor of Teacher Education and MEND Co-Principal Investigator Edward Curammeng said:
“With so many teachers leaving the profession, we need to provide support structures so that there is a solid sense of community and material resources to ensure our students will be teachers for the long haul. They need to be sustained throughout the trajectory of their careers.”
About the August F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program
The Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program (Hawkins Program), named for Augustus F. Hawkins, the first Black politician elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from west of the Mississippi River, supports comprehensive, high-quality teacher preparation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). A priority in President Biden’s FY 22 budget proposal, this year marks the first time the Hawkins Program has received funding since its creation in 2008. In the 2022 omnibus, Congress appropriated $8 million for the grants under Part B of Title VIII, and the Department redirected an additional $10 million to bring the total for the Hawkins Program to over $18 million.