Anderson University was selected by the United States Department of Education Office of Language Acquisition to receive a four-year grant of nearly $800,000 to establish a Professional Development Academy (PDA) for Teachers of English as a New Language. The Professional Development Academy is the first center of its kind in Indiana. The goal of the center is to prepare teachers to teach English to persons who do not speak English as a primary language. The mission of the center will be to provide instruction that accelerates Limited English Proficient (LEP) students leading to school retention and post-secondary enrollment in universities.
“We are pleased to have such an important assignment as we expand our teaching resources to serve our community,” said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. “The Academy fits our mission to educate persons from a global perspective. Our selection as the first university in Indiana to lead in this important work is a compliment to an outstanding faculty and School of Education serving with vision and with a firm sense of mission."
“I am pleased that the Department of Education is investing in Anderson University,” said United States Congressman Mike Pence (6th District). “These funds will ensure that graduates of Anderson University’s teaching program are better prepared to meet the needs of children with limited English proficiency.”
"To be selected to receive the Professional Development Grant for the Academy is wonderful news,” stated Dr. Diana Ross, dean of the Anderson University School of Education. “We are pleased to begin work on this program in September with area schools, teachers and students.”
Anderson University will work in collaboration with six central/north central schools/districts, the Mexican Consul, and the Indiana DOE: Division of Language Minority and Migrant Programs. These collaborations will focus on professional development for AU faculty to ensure a content and English language proficiency Standards-based teacher education curricula for pre-teaching and teachers who attend the PDA. Instruction will be available on campus, on-line, and in schools to improve opportunities for pre-teachers, teachers, and para-professionals.
“Through the Professional Development Academy, Anderson University has a very unique opportunity to provide training for elementary and secondary teachers who have students in their classes who are learning to speak the English language,” added Ross. She noted that having taught many students in Florida who did not speak English, she understands how hard it is for persons to acquire a new language, learn social studies, math, science and other subjects while they are adjusting to a new culture. “This Academy will provide the skills teachers need to assist those students to better make the transition,” said Ross.
“I am excited that this will also allow AU faculty to place the teaching of Limited English students into the university’s teacher preparation curriculum,” Ross explained. “This proposal is unusual in that it was collaboration among three departments within the university as well as area school corporations: Education, Modern Foreign Language and English. In the end we know that through this grant, we will be providing the instructional skills so that all children achieve!”
The Professional Development Academy will specifically address the lack of sufficient qualified teachers to serve students with limited English language skills and provide training to increase the numbers and quality of teachers in order to improve the quality of education students receive and ensure alignment of instruction with state standards.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.