Coppin State, Frostburg State Universities Launch Unique Diversity Teaching Experience

Published Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Innovative teacher preparedness program launches this fall at Coppin State and Frostburg State Universities

Baltimore, MD - Teachers can be prepared to teach any student in any community through an innovative teacher preparedness program launching this fall at Coppin State University (CSU) and Frostburg State University (FSU) in Maryland.

Pathways to Professions (P2P) will see urban and rural teacher candidates trade places in order to boost teacher excellence, student excellence and inclusivity.

“We want our teacher candidates to have the opportunity to experience teaching in a different context,” said Dr. Yi Huang, associate dean/associate professor of CSU College of Arts & Sciences and Education and author and principal investigator of the grant. “There are two major goals: Simultaneously improving quality and value of education, while at the same time increasing teacher effectiveness and improving student achievement.”

P2P received its latest and largest funding through a five-year, $3.6 million U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Partnership grant awarded to Coppin, providing a diversity exchange experience for teacher candidates at FSU and CSU that will officially launch this fall. The key components include site-based preparation called clinical rounds and clinical rotation; and competency-based measures through P2P MicroCredentials in Teaching Effectiveness.

One of P2P’s central components is a one-week clinical rotation, or internship, at schools in a rural setting for CSU teacher candidates and an urban setting for FSU teacher candidates. These are examples of P2P’s high-impact approaches to strengthen required internships to meet national and state standards.

"FSU instructors believe their students need every opportunity to meet the challenges of today's classroom. We want to provide as many opportunities for their success,” said Dr. Kim Rotruck, acting associate dean of FSU College of Education and co-principal investigator for the grant. “This Coppin partnership has definitely changed their perspective and allowed them to grow as teachers."

Here’s how students unpack how their personality and way of life influences their teaching:

  • In the first phase, FSU and CSU education majors will conduct site visits at professional development schools to observe classrooms and gain initial exposure to schools in a different part of the state. The first visits will take place in October.
  • FSU and CSU students collaborate on assignments online through Blackboard and work on developing curriculum together.
  • In the second phase, planned for the spring of 2018, FSU students have a one-week internship, or residential clinical rotation, in an urban professional development school near Coppin. CSU students do the same at a FSU professional development network school. Teacher-candidates must complete P2P competency-based activities in order to be part of this experience. The first clinical rotations are planned for spring 2018.

The pilot implementation of the P2P MicroCredentials in Teaching Effectiveness will begin in fall 2017 at CSU and FSU.  “P2P MicroCredentials is another high-tech, high-touch, and high-impact approach to strengthen teacher preparation for aspiring teachers and teacher induction for new teachers,” Huang said.

Support for teacher candidates during their first two years of teaching, with the opportunity to engage in highly personalized professional development and earn professional development credits through P2P MicroCredentials is under development as part of this grant.

With the overarching goal of inclusive excellence, Huang led the P2P efforts, to accumulate more than $4 million in awards granted by state, federal, and private agencies between 2015-2017. “The P2P initiatives range from dual enrollment, workforce development, and teacher education to MicroCredentials across levels of schooling and stages of professional life,” Huang stated.  “The P2P grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education is an excellent example of multi-agency partnerships among CSU, FSU, and various regional entities to improve teacher effectiveness  and student achievement.”

“Teachers are the single most important factor in terms of impacting students’ learning and achievement,” Huang said. “By improving teacher effectiveness, we have a much greater chance to improve student learning. Narrowing opportunity and achievement gaps is our shared goal of inclusive excellence.”

The hope is that the program will become permanent and replicated by other universities around the nation as a model that will boost teacher effectiveness and student learning by better preparing education majors to teach in any classroom around the U.S.

“There are implications for this as a model for other like-type institutions, for rural private institutions, HBCUs and majority institutions to partner, given whatever the diversity is or isn't,” said Dr. Boyce Williams, FSU interim Dean for the College of Education. “The common denominator is that both institutions are nationally accredited. They're responding to the same set of standards, but through different lenses based on their populations. Their end-goal has to be the same: all for one and one for all. The way they approach it and go about it has to be different.”

The challenge was worth pursuing for faculty at Coppin and Frostburg to take prospective teachers out of their comfort zones to expand their skillset, managing classrooms in a different part of the state while still meeting requirements in Maryland’s professional development school network system.

Frostburg graduate Brianna Hopkins participated in a pilot P2P diversity exchange last academic year before graduating in December 2016.

Hopkins spent time interning at Mount Savage Elementary School outside of Frostburg and at Gwynns Falls Elementary School in Baltimore city, where she will teach fifth-grade math this fall.

“I learned after doing both internships that I could be successful in any county as long as my core values and moral beliefs remain the same regardless of where I decide to teach,” Hopkins said.


Coppin State University (CSU) is one of the nation’s oldest public Historically Black Institutions located in Baltimore, Maryland. As an anchor institution that is part of the University System of Maryland, CSU is deeply committed to providing educational access and diverse opportunities for all students while emphasizing its unique role in educating residents of Metropolitan Baltimore and first-generation college students.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland.