EKU Joins "Best Should Teach" Initiative

Eastern Kentucky University has become only the fourth educational institution in the nation to join the “Best Should Teach” initiative.

EKU’s College of Education received, and matched, a $5,000 grant from the program, which promotes teaching as the highest profession because it nourishes all other professions and human endeavors, according to Dr. Sherwood Thompson, assistant dean of the College and principal investigator for the grant.

The grant will enable EKU’s College of Education to:

·       present an annual “Best Should Teach” lecture featuring a well-known speaker. The audience would be composed of high school teachers, graduate student teaching assistants, and faculty selected from the College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and Graduate School.

·       sponsor a “Best Should Teach” Award in recognition of outstanding teaching ability. Awardees will be selected by faculty committees from the College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School and by local school districts. Gold Flame of Enlightenment lapel pins will be awarded to University recipients as well as local K-12 teachers. The honorees will be recognized at the lecture.

·       place a bronze plaque outside the Combs Building featuring a “Best Should Teach” poem by the noted teacher educator/author who coined the phrase, the late Dr. Lindley Stiles, and a representation of the Best Should Teach Flame of Enlightenment.

The “Best Should Teach” initiative is managed by the University of Colorado at Boulder, where it was developed. Other participating institutions are Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

“The ‘Best Should Teach’ program highlights our efforts to seek high-ability students who are capable of meeting the highly rigorous standards of our teacher education program,” Thompson said, noting the many hurdles pre-service teachers must clear before even entering the classroom as full-time teachers. “This is one way to combat the perception that students only look at education because their other goals aren’t working out. ‘Best Should Teach’ seeks individuals who list teaching as their primary interest and who have passion to serve in our nation’s schools.”

Dr. Bill Phillips, dean of EKU’s College of Education, said: “The best way to improve student performance is to have a highly effective teacher in every classroom. The College is continually raising expectations and setting high standards to ensure that every child has the best teacher possible in their classroom. This is particularly important for students who live in high-poverty areas in Kentucky.”

Thompson said the “Best Should Teach” program will also help the University forge even stronger ties with school districts and communities throughout the region. Already, EKU boasts a nationally unique network of seven educational extension agents throughout the University’s primary service region and many other programs that benefit school districts.

Published on November 12, 2010