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Copyright ? 2006-2013 Scientific Research Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.
2012. Vol.3, Special Issue, 1024-1030
Published Online October 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/ce) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2012.326154
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Understanding Partnership Challenges in Teacher
Mary D. Burbank1, Richard Diaz2
1The University of Utah Urban Institute for Teacher Education, Salt Lake City, USA
2Salt Lake City School, Salt Lake City, USA
Received August 30th, 2012; revised September 29th, 2012; accepted October 11th, 2012
This investigation examined perspectives on student eligibility and the curriculum for a teacher education
seminar linked to a community-based collaborative. Project data identified: 1) perceptions on the qualifi-
cations of pre-service teachers in a recruiting program for first-generation and ethnic minority teachers;
and 2) viewpoints on the necessary curriculum for these pre-service teacher participants. Our data indicate
varied perspectives by project participants ranging from deficit to asset-based stances regarding prospec-
tive teachers from underrepresented communities. Our findings speak to the need for honest conversations
within collaborative partnerships designed to diversify the teaching profession.
Keywords: Partnerships; Collaboration; Teaching; Diversity
This investigation examined perspectives on student eligi-
bility and the curriculum for a teacher education seminar linked
to a community-based collaborative between two institutions of
higher education and five school districts in the Salt Lake City
Utah in the United States. Project data identified: 1) stakeholder
perceptions on the qualifications of prospective teachers in a
recruiting program for first-generation and ethnic minority
teachers; and 2) viewpoints on the necessary curriculum for
teachers in training. Our data indicate varied perspectives by
project participants ranging from deficit to asset-based stances
regarding prospective teachers from underrepresented commu-
nities. Our findings speak to the need for honest conversations
within collaborative partnerships designed to diversify the
The demographic landscape of communities in the United
States is changing. Nationally, the number of students from
culturally and linguistically diverse communities is increasing.
Nearly one third of school-age children are culturally diverse
with 16% of the teaching force from non-majority populations
(Gay, Dingus, & Jackson, 2003; National Center for Education
Statistics, 2003; Swartz, 2003). Projections for the next 20
years identify dramatic changes in national demographics
where 61% of population increases will occur among Latinos
and Asians with the Latino college-age-population projected to
reach 25% (Excelencia in Education, 2009; Hodgkinson, 2002;
Stanford, 1999; Swartz, 2003). For those teaching in K-12
classroom settings, the opportunities to work with increasingly
diverse students will become a reality when the number of
children of color will become the majority by 2025 (United
States Census Bureau, 2008).
The rapid demographic shifts have been particularly signifi-
cant in Salt Lake City, Utah, with an increase of 117% among
people of color between 1990 and 2000 and an increase from
9% to 20% of the total state population between 1990 and 2010
(Perlich, 2011, 2002). The Latino college-age population alone
is projected to reach 25% by 2025 (Excelencia in Education,
2009; Hodgkinson, 2002; Stanford, 1999). These shifts are
particularly dramatic within the Salt Lake City’s school-aged
population where 56% of students have been identified as
non-majority (Salt Lake District Census, 2010).
The purpose of the current work was to examine stakeholder
perspectives on a community-based collaborative designed to
increase student diversity in a teacher education program. This
investigation specifically examined community stakeholders’
and students’ perspectives on: 1) the characteristics of first-
generation and ethnically diverse future teachers; and 2) a pro-
gram curriculum designed to support first-generation and eth-
nically diverse students as future teachers.
Changing the P rofi l e o f the T eachi ng Profession
While the makeup of the United States population continues
to change, the number of teachers from racially, ethnically, and
linguistically diverse groups remains alarmingly low (Cochran-
Smith, 2004; Hodgkinson, 2002; Kane & Orsini, 2005; Villegas
& Lucas, 2002). Efforts to increase the number of teachers of
color have been limited and varied in their intentions with em-
phases often placed on tuition support and general academic
advising (Flores, Clark, Claeys, & Villarreal, 2007; Guarino,
Sanatibañez, & Daley, 2006). Further, many efforts to diversify
the teaching ranks are flawed when solely designed to prepare
teachers of color as ambassadors for diverse communities.
These intentions are particularly limited in that they may un-
duly pressure prospective teachers of color and fail to build
communities of educators from varied racial, ethnic, and cul-
tural groups (Nieto & Bode, 2008).
Multilayered recruiting efforts must address changing demo-
graphics. Educators whose lives, experiences, and views paral-
lel those of contemporary communities are at no time more
M. D. BURBANK, R. DIAZ
necessary (Frankenberg, 2009; Gay, 2010; Gay, 2002). Teach-
ers of color bring to classrooms commitments and an under-
standing of the lives and languages of many contemporary stu-
dents (Andrews, 2009; Frankenberg, 2009).
In addition to acknowledging the life experiences that many
teachers of color may bring to classroom settings, teacher edu-
cation programs must also examine the fundamentals of cur-
riculum, field-based experiences, and collaboration within
neighborhoods and communities (Andrews, 2009; Frankenberg,
2009). These features are particularly central to the teacher
education programs affiliated with the Teacher Pipeline Project.
Foundations of Community-Based Research
The Teacher Pipeline Project began as a community-based
collaborative with scholarship support for first-generation stu-
dents and students of color in their higher education pursuits.
The Teacher Pipeline Project reflects the tenets of a commu-
nity-based research partnership whose fundamental roots stem
from embedded campus/community partnerships committed to
work designed to collectively meet agreed upon goals (Buys &
Bursnall, 2007; Campbell, 1999; Kemmis, 1995; Strand, Ma-
rullo, Cutforth, Stoecker, & Donohue, 2003).
This research was conducted within the framework of a
university-school district partnership with an understanding of
the importance of and maximizing partnerships’ impacts on
educational reform (Author, 2010; Ball, 2005; Bryant & West,
2004; Suarez-Balcazar, Davis, Ferrari, Nyden, Olsen, Alvarez,
Molloy, Torro, 2004; Hunter, Munro, Dunn, & Olsen, 2009;
Maurrasse, 2001). Similar to the work of others, the Teacher
Pipeline Project, a university-community-school partnership,
provides stakeholders (i.e., research, educators, youth, parents,)
from diverse background and social classes an opportunity to
build authentic relationships focused on shared goals of
educational and social change.
A unique dimension of The Teacher Pipeline Project includes
partnerships between higher education and five school districts
partners. The University of Utah, Salt Lake Community Col-
lege, and five local school districts round out the partnership.
As a collaborative, the Teacher Pipeline Project includes the
more traditional elements of successful climates that impact
student success (e.g., a supportive learning community, a
common mission, and academic support structures (Smith,
MacGregor, Matthews, & Gabelnick, 2004). What program
evaluation data findings indicated however were varied views
from stakeholders regarding student participants and the per-
ceived qualities they bring to the teaching profession.
The Teacher Pipeline Project: A University of
Utah-Salt Lake Community College Partnership
Since its inception the Teacher Pipeline Project includes
monthly board meetings, co-chaired by higher education and
district representatives, where members manage the procedural
and programmatic elements of the Teacher Pipeline Project.
They also review applications, discuss available funding from
each district (e.g., districts provide book costs and fees for
scholarship recipients), and examine students’ academic per-
formance at both Salt Lake Community and the University of
Prior to matriculating to Salt Lake Community College, stu-
dent scholarship recipients are identified as prospective teacher
education students by participating school districts. Initial
nominations by high school teachers, counselors, and or ad-
ministrators are based upon interests in a teaching career, aca-
demic competencies, experience working with youth, member-
ship in traditionally underrepresented communities, state resi-
dency, United States citizenship, and financial need.
For students who are selected to attend Salt Lake Community,
tuition and funding for books and fees are provided for a two
year course curriculum in teacher education. Faculty from the
University of Utah and Salt Lake Community College oversee a
required academic course sequence that is part of a curriculum
agreement between the two higher education institutions. The
course work across institutions serves as an institutional me-
chanism for increasing recruitment into a teacher education
program that is both seamless and accessible to students who
have historically begun their teacher education programs at
Following graduation from the community college, Pipeline
students complete their remaining bachelor’s degree and licen-
sure requirements at Utah. Course work includes but is not
limited to: child development, assessment, research, content area
teaching course work, student teaching, and a professional
Program Evaluation Findings
Based upon early program evaluation data from student and
project stakeholders, efforts to strengthen the transition support
for student participants took many forms. For example support
from high school, to the community college, and to the
four-year institution included integrating more rigorous admis-
sions requirements, providing stronger academic support and
mentoring, and linking to families as supporters of educational
success. Additionally, a bold effort was implemented in 2011 to
shift the weekly seminar curriculum.
In addition to bolstering a college-level writing emphasis, as-
signments were strategically integrated through topics of social
justice, white privilege, diversity, institutional racism, and the
influence of families and communities on teaching and learning.
Course readings, in-class discussions, and activities captured
these themes and were presented with the intention of building
leadership capacity among these future teachers (Arminio,
Carter, Jones, Kruger, Lucas, Washington, Young, & Scott,
2000; Komives & Wagner, 2009).
Annual program evaluation data during years 2008-2010
identified: 1) inconsistencies in expectations for student par-
ticipants and varied assumptions regarding participants’ aca-
demic preparation; 2) the need for a curriculum specifically
geared toward student participants; and 3) beliefs regarding the
long-term success of students in the program. During its third
year a curriculum revamp reflected shifts from an initial focus
that was highly skill based and custodial. Additional support
and mentoring were coupled with a focus on social justice lit-
eracy and leadership. In-class discussions and readings ad-
dressed historical practices that have limited opportunity in
K-12 classrooms through examinations of classroom-based
experiences that support or limit diverse learners. In essence,
the curriculum was developed to do more than prepare future
teachers to manage the technical logistics of teachers’ work in
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1025
M. D. BURBANK, R. DIAZ
A broadened definition of teachers’ work exposed what
Delgado Bernal, Aleman, and Garavito (2009) describe as
spaces where traditionally underrepresented teachers see their
roles in classrooms and schools in ways that challenge tradi-
tional views of dominant narratives. Because attitudes toward
diversity impact student success in teacher education programs
for underrepresented populations (McIntyre, Byrd, & Foxx,
1996; Sleeter, 2001), the curriculum made central social justice
while, simultaneously, allowing for reading and writing devel-
These outcomes were evidenced most clearly in what stake-
holders believed students should bring to the table as future
teachers as well as crucial competencies among first-generation
and students of color. Year III’s program evaluation included
in-depth views of participants’ perspectives on the course cur-
riculum through survey and interview data.
Research Design and Data Analysis
To evaluate the impact of a program curriculum on the
Teacher Pipeline Project, data collection in year III of the pro-
gram included both qualitative and quantitative methods de-
signed to examine participants’ perspectives. The quantitative
data included a 5 point Likert-type questionnaire that examined
participants’ reactions to a seminar curriculum including but
not limited to: history, culture, privilege, access, race, equity,
socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, immigration, service
learning and activism, ableism, allies, and college reading and
writing. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Qualitative data included open-ended survey questions and
interview data. Questions included: “From your perspective,
what should be key topics of study for students in the Teacher
Pipeline Scholarship Program?” “In what ways, if any, should
the unique contributions of students in the Teacher Pipeline
project be considered when developing curriculum for the
weekly seminar?” and “What should be the role of Utah and
Salt Lake Community College in preparing future teachers?”
Open-ended data were examined through a process of con-
stant comparison (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). A matrix was con-
structed to facilitate data analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994).
Initial categories were determined using a form of triangulation
(Denzin, 1989). All names in this document are pseudonyms. In
accordance with program evaluation and Institutional Review
Board (IRB) policies both interview and survey data examined
participants’ perspectives on the Teacher Pipeline Project dur-
ing years 1 - 3.
Eight of twelve community stakeholders and six student par-
ticipants volunteered to complete a survey designed to identify
perspectives on Pipeline student characteristics and the cur-
riculum from a year-long seminar at Salt Lake Community
College. Stakeholders included college partners and local
school district representatives responsible for financial support
and administrative oversight.
From a class of 15 student participants at Community (i.e.,
eight Latinas, two African-American women, one Asian
American male student, with the remaining participants com-
prised of White females) six students completed online surveys.
Hour-long-follow-up interviews were conducted with four
stakeholders and three student participants whom we identified
as representative of the Teacher Pipeline Project stakeholders
While survey response rate represents a subset of the total
population findings are prompts for continued inquiry. Specifi-
cally, pilot survey and interview data reflected general agree-
ment among stakeholders across survey questions, with notable
variance in responses. Comparisons between stakeholders and
student participants highlighted agreement on the value of col-
lege readiness and reading and writing competencies. All study
participants viewed curriculum topics related to race and equity;
inequalities in education; socio-economic status; and gender
and sexuality as areas worthy of study. Distinctions emerged
between project stakeholders and student participants on topics
including: immigration, service learning, activism, and ableism.
For project stakeholders, these topics, while important, were
not considered primary areas of study. For student participants,
these areas were deemed essential. Open-ended findings further
revealed general to strong agreement on the value of collabora-
tion, ownership, and the utility of monthly meetings for student
For project stakeholders, the variance in perceptions of cur-
ricular topics was generally limited, though reading and writing
skills were ranked highly. When asked to identify the impor-
tance of topics such as gender and sexuality and allies in educa-
tion, stakeholders viewed the topics to be neutral to somewhat
Quantitative responses from student participants reflected
general similarities in responses when compared with their
stakeholder counterparts. Differences surfaced on questions
related to allies in education, privilege and access, service
learning and activism, and abelism in education. For each of
these areas, student participants rated these areas as topics
about which they strongly agreed as important dimensions of
their course curriculum.
While survey data revealed general perspectives on specific
curricular themes, open-ended survey responses highlighted
more deeply embedded views regarding the characteristics for
student participants, by both project stakeholders and student
participants. Specifically, an analysis of open-ended feedback
revealed a heightened focus among stakeholders’ for academic
skill development and administrative support for navigating
enrollment scheduling, and accessing resources on campus (i.e.,
writing). When asked to identify the Pipeline’s project goals,
one stakeholder, Ellen, reported with enthusiasm,
This project is designed to identify, prepare, and select ethnic
minority students interested in education/teaching while in high
school. A community college, university along, and local dis-
tricts will provide funding for orientations, financial aid coach-
ing, advising, tutoring, and summer programs to support stu-
dents as they transition to college with the goal to become en-
gaged and successful in their college courses. The weekly
seminar develops a community among students that will facili-
tate the identification of their vision for themselves as educa-
Ellen’s appraisal of the logistics and long-term goals was
technically accurate. And, as a Pipeline board member and
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
M. D. BURBANK, R. DIAZ
project funder, her reactions echoed others’ reflections on their
efforts to shape the population of prospective teachers in the
community. Her goals provided a reasonable scope and se-
quence for increasing participants’ success.
Clearly financial support and personal guidance were identi-
fied as necessary dimensions of a support system. But situated
within the laundry list of “must haves” are potential assump-
tions about students within the program that highlight, for some,
shortcomings in what they bring, or fail to bring, to the teacher
As a key stakeholder shared during an interview, Byron re-
sponded, “… we need to be careful about screening… make
sure their ‘academic deficit’ is not so great that it outweighs the
support available.” Byron went on to highlight the importance
of orienting students to scheduling, registration, books, college
life, knowing peers, and understanding how to address their
“weaknesses.” While Byron’s responses reflected a presumed
deficit view of student participants’ skill levels and the need for
“significant remediation”, he was also the only stakeholder to
cite the importance of family and community support for stu-
dent success. Byron’s range of feedback illustrated the com-
plexity of perceptions of traditionally underrepresented future
Byron expressed an awareness of the unique characteristics
of life in urban classrooms and that student participants in the
Teacher Pipeline Project would presumably possess the charac-
teristics to be successful in those settings. What is less clear
from Byron’s and others’ interviews are their intentions about
what it takes to work in urban communities. That is, Byron and
others often viewed those working in urban communities as in
need of skill building and overall academic bolstering. What is
less clear is what the underlying assumptions regarding these
perceived weaknesses might presume.
When stakeholders were asked to identify the specific assets
that student participants brought to the Teacher Pipeline Pro-
gram, the majority of community stakeholders repeatedly high-
lighted academic support designed to enhance weak skills as a
means of increasing academic “success”. While some stake-
holders recognized students’ backgrounds, life experiences, and
knowledge, this focus was secondary to basic skill development.
Overwhelmingly, project stakeholders viewed the Teacher
Pipeline Project as a valuable step toward cultivating a diverse
teaching population as a tool for remediation what appeared as
the “problems” affiliated with urban communities.
In contrast to stakeholders, student participants reinforced
specifically their influence as future teachers, from underrepre-
sented communities, as essential components of the seminar
curriculum. That is, they believed it necessary to examine their
unique contributions to the teaching profession as members of a
nontraditional teaching community. Student feedback from
Monica and Gina illustrated varied viewpoints on a program
Monica, a first-generation Latina, plans to teach English. As
her interview data indicated, her attention to issues of equity
and access, as well as a social justice stance were not cited as
critical to her success in the Teacher Pipeline Program, or as a
future teacher. She noted in an end-of-the-year interview that
issues of privilege and access are not areas of concern for her.
She reported, “There are some minorities who have access…
We have sometimes more opportunity… We are more privi-
leged.” She went on, “We don’t see scholarships targeting
White Protestant males.” She added, “It is more about hard
work… students applying themselves to succeed.”
Gina, a Latina who has graduated from Utah, was asked to
identify her views regarding the goals and curriculum in the
Teacher Pipeline Project. Her responses were much different
from those of Monica. Specifically, Gina reported,
I think one of the most important key topics that should be
taught should be the privilege of being in the classroom [as part
of the scholarship opportunity]… students should realize that
not only is the committee counting on them but, future students
in classrooms, and their families. Another topic that should be
covered the first semester is the student’s individualism. What
can they bring to the scholarship class? What can the students
bring to a university? What can the student participants bring
into the future classroom?… In order to become a great teacher
one must know how to work with different populations, or-
ganization skills, and good writing skills.
Gina also reported that no one curriculum area is more im-
portant than the others. She felt all areas were significant and
allowed for a more comprehensive and global view of teaching
for contemporary educators. She did distinguish between more
generic views of diversity and the need for greater depth of
understanding with regard to inequities in education. She felt
this concept may be new to many future teachers.
As the differences between Monica’s and Gina’s feedback
indicate, beliefs regarding the essence of teachers’ work in
areas related to access, equity, and social justice are individual-
ized and unique to the range of people working in classroom
and schools. Simply attracting first generation teachers and
typically underrepresented teacher candidates does not ensure
they will automatically respond to invitations to participate as
educational allies or reform agents, simply because a scholar-
ship and curricular focus are in place.
From a holistic review of the data from this evaluation, the
most telling distinction between the reported perceptions of
project stakeholders and student perspectives appeared in
open-ended survey data regarding the goals of the curriculum.
When stakeholders were asked to describe key topics of study
for students in the Teacher Pipeline Project, they acknowledged
broad conceptual issues related to: urban teaching, race, culture,
and the influence of these prospective teachers on their com-
munities. More frequently, though, stakeholders cited practical
skills, academic rigor, and training on how to be successful
college students as critical topics for the Teacher Pipeline Pro-
When the same question was asked of student participants, a
different trend emerged. Conceptual issues related to working
together as future teachers, building upon their backgrounds as
assets to the teaching profession, and sharing information on
recourses for underrepresented students were the primary areas
of study. Logistics related to life in college, as well as detailed
information on teaching programs were also cited by students.
No student respondent addressed skill deficits, or the need for
programs designed to remediate student participants’ skills or
Preliminary data collection on the curriculum affiliated with
the Teacher Pipeline Program curriculum addressed important
qualities for a nontraditional pool of prospective teachers, as
well as the value of a proposed curriculum geared specifically
to the needs of diverse, underrepresented communities. While a
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1027
M. D. BURBANK, R. DIAZ
study limitation includes the small number of student responses,
both student participants and partnership stakeholders noted the
importance of strong academic preparation and the knowledge
required to navigate higher education as essential for underrep-
resented teachers. Preliminary evaluation data further validated
the importance of articulation agreements for course work
across institutions of higher education; formal partnerships
between two and four year institutions; alternate course oppor-
tunities; and active recruitment efforts. Deliberate marketing
efforts, cohort formats, and ongoing support systems echo oth-
ers’ work for underrepresented student success in higher educa-
tion (Burbank, 2010; Torres, Santos, Peck, & Cortes, 2004).
While some stakeholders espoused a commitment to diversi-
fying the teaching profession and recognized the assets of stu-
dent participants, the goals of empowerment and voice were not
always viewed as necessary. Further, variance among stake-
holders on the qualifications of prospective teachers often im-
plied subtle and not so subtle deficit undercurrents that reified a
narrow prototype for students from underrepresented communi-
ties. Often times these beliefs were manifest through: perspec-
tives on “appropriate” course work and programs of study;
goals for preparing underrepresented teachers; and viewpoints
on how underrepresented teachers will impact communities
For student participants, survey and interview data signified
greater optimism regarding the assets they would bring to the
teaching profession. While the students understood the impor-
tance of strong academic skills, they welcomed a curriculum
that examined a broad definition of diversity as preparation for
their work in today’s schools and communities.
Recruiting efforts for prospective teachers of color have var-
ied in scope, intensity, and overall outcomes (Burbank, 2010,
2009; Donaldson, 2009; Torres, Santos, Peck, & Cortes, 2004).
Success for underrepresented individuals in college highlights
the varied and complex nature of the factors that impact that
success. Previous research identifies the very real need for
support and preparation mechanisms that include: specific
course work beginning in middle and high schools; financial
aid; and dedicated attention to “gatekeeper courses” and their
positive and potentially negative impact on students continuing
in specific fields of study (e.g., math and science) (Crisp, Nora,
& Taggart, 2009).
The Teacher Pipeline Project findings extend previous re-
search through conscious examinations of what constitutes
adequate academic preparation and the knowledge of how to
navigate higher education. The Teacher Pipeline Project data
illustrated how university-community partnerships may influ-
ence prospective teachers of color in ways that reinforce his-
torical perceptions of those who are best suited to teach through
traditional views regarding qualifications and programs of
While the goal of a relevant curriculum may appear straight-
forward, pronouncements of a common understanding among
stakeholders must be defined and consistently evaluated. The
varied perspectives among stakeholders in this project high-
lighted how beliefs may unintentionally inhibit prospective
teachers of color through excessive attention to skill develop-
ment and/or remedial support. Since the Teacher Pipeline Pro-
gram’s inception, three students have graduated from Utah, with
eight students currently enrolled.
Finally, project findings raised challenging questions regard-
ing the differences in stakeholders’ and student participants’
views of a curriculum for underrepresented teachers. The reali-
ties of college are daunting, particularly among first-generation
college students. However these challenges must be addressed
systematically without defaulting to profiles of prospective
teachers whose academic potential is framed as needing reme-
diation and superficial skill development. Recruiting efforts
must strategically foster and welcome varied backgrounds,
assets, and ways in which life experiences positively impact all
communities within teacher education programs.
The success or failure of the Teacher Pipeline Project is not
obvious at this juncture. The number of Teacher Pipeline Pro-
ject students nearing the end of a four-year licensure program is
small (i.e., one Utah graduate in 2011; two in 2012; two in
2013 and six students entering Utah in fall of 2012.) In addition
to high attrition rates among those in the community college
during the first two years, those needing additional time to
complete their programs was significant. As a result it is not
clear how curricular themes introduced at the community col-
lege will impact dispositions and overall performance once
students near the end of their degree and licensure programs.
The lessons learned from this investigation include the im-
plementation of additional efforts designed to increase program
completion at Utah by Pipeline students through a multilayered
approach to diversifying the teaching profession. In addition to
academic support the following components are institutional-
ized components at Utah: 1) transitional support through Utah’s
Peer Advocacy Program (i.e., a peer-based mentoring program
in the teacher education programs—description located at
http://uite.utah.edu/asuu-mentors/index.php); 2) support by a
transition counselor who also serves as an outreach and re-
cruitment coordinator with Salt Lake Community; and 3) for-
malized linkages to academic support at Utah include but are
not limited to connections with the university’s writing center
and academic student support office.
An additional support mechanism at Utah is a version of the
2007 University California Los Angeles (UCLA), Chicano
Studies Research Report program. In partnership, the Univer-
sity of Utah and Salt Lake Community College support summer
transition workshops for students as they transfer from Salt
Lake Community to Utah (Rivas, Perez, Alvarez, & Solarzano,
2007). Mirrored after the UCLA program, a two-day workshop
provided students with guidance on accessing recourses at Utah;
uncovering “insider” knowledge that promotes success at Utah
(e.g., knowledge of faculty allies, opportunities to engage with
other underrepresented students); and offering explicit guidance
on program requirements and program completion that must be
considered systematically (e.g., ceasing outside employment
during student teaching).
Through additional systemic efforts, linkages to families be-
gan in 2010 and provided dedicated family support through
orientations to the Teacher Pipeline Project and its affiliated
requirements. Families and caregivers of student project par-
ticipants completed formal meetings and information sharing
opportunities to more clearly define, from their perspectives,
how family support contributes to student success in K-16 set-
tings. These same family members will serve as future ambas-
sadors to families whose children are interested in the teaching
profession. Understanding the assets of families and communi-
ties, including language, is essential to building systemic sup-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
M. D. BURBANK, R. DIAZ
port for future teachers and those affiliated with school systems
(Burbank, 2011; Kugler & Acosta Price, 2009; Stratton, Ooka
Pang, Madueňo, Park, Atlas, Page, & Oliger, 2009).
The outcomes from the Teacher Pipeline Project extend past
discussions on community-based efforts to diversify the teach-
ing profession (Burbank, 2009, 2010; Genzuk & Baca, 1998;
Recruiting New Teachers, 2003; Torres, Santos, Peck, & Cortes,
2004). Past projects highlight the significance of vigilant atten-
tion to definitions of success that have historically embedded
deficit perspectives through perseveration on basic skills meas-
ured through traditionally defined performance competencies
(e.g., standardized test scores).
Responsive teacher recruitment efforts must recognize how
factors such as variance in curriculum and pedagogy capitalize
on the assets brought to the teaching profession by individuals
from traditionally underrepresented communities. As one stake-
holder expressed, “… as teachers of teachers we must draw
upon our students’ perspectives on how schools helped or hin-
dered their education in ways that foster their voices as advo-
cates for others.” Without critical examinations of the nuances
of recruitment efforts, teacher education programs will remain
static. Alternatively, responsiveness to dynamic communities
must recognize individual histories, communities, and families
as factors impacting success for all members of K-16 commu-
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