$2 million gift establishes McDowell Institute for Teacher Excellence

$2 million gift establishes McDowell Institute for Teacher Excellence

What is the purpose/mission of the McDowell Institute for Teacher Excellence?

The McDowell Institute’s mission is to prepare teacher candidates to effectively educate all children and youth in our school systems while simultaneously providing a service to families and communities in our region. The institute will prepare education majors to recognize the complex issues and problems young pupils face, such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse; relational aggression; drug and alcohol use; poverty; bullying; and family instability. It will equip educators with strategies, practices and experiences to effectively support the academic, social and emotional growth of all students.

Why is the McDowell Institute for Teacher Excellence a good fit for Bloomsburg University?

Building upon the institution’s strong history of teacher education, BU’s College of Education recognized the need to incorporate positive behavior support into the curriculum. Student teachers and young alumni shared stories from their classroom experiences, demonstrating they were thoroughly prepared to teach in subject areas, but unprepared to meet the needs of children in their classroom.

Positive Behavior Support, www.apbs.org, is defined as a set of research-based strategies used to increase quality of life and decrease problem behavior by teaching new skills and making changes in a person's environment. As an innovator in positive behavior support, Bloomsburg University’s College of Education will be a leader in providing a model for similar programs across the commonwealth.

How will the institute operate?

The institute will integrate the theories and practices of positive behavior support into the curriculum, from introductory courses and initial educational methods courses to advanced sequence courses and capstone experiences, including student teaching. The director of the institute will collaborate with, mentor and support faculty, provide training and establish partnerships.

How will the institute benefit students?

Through enhanced field and curricular offerings, the McDowell Institute will equip future teachers with classroom management skills that will promote a strong learning environment for all students and a successful and satisfying career for educators.

How will the institute serve the greater community?

The McDowell Institute will support classroom teachers and parents of young students through shared knowledge, shared research findings and support. Local educators may access instructional materials developed by BU faculty. Partnerships with educational and human service providers will address the needs of children in the community and programming will reinforce parenting skills.