A University of Wyoming Board of Trustees initiative to boost the College of Education into national prominence in teacher preparation took a step forward Monday.
Trustees accepted a $500,000 dollar grant from The Daniels Fund, a Denver-based private foundation, which will be used to plan the first phase of the effort.
The Board also appointed a group to develop that plan. It includes five trustees and the new College of Education Dean, Ray Reutzel. Improving U-W’s College of Education is also the top priority for the Legislature’s Joint Education Committee. Reutzel says the roughly $14 million needed will be provided through public-private partnership.
“If we’re able to put together a good plan for the Daniels Fund, and they are willing to put the multiple millions of dollars that we are going to ask for on the table, then my understanding would be that the Joint Education Committee would be recommending matching funding from the Legislature so that we could reach the number of dollars necessary to take this initiative where it needs to go,” Reutzel says.
Reutzel says he will work with national education experts like Dr. Arthur Levine of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation to develop the plan and budget. But he says improving the College of Education’s programs is just step one.
“If we get really, really great programs that are nationally-recognized, then the next step is to put those really nationally-recognized programs in a beautiful facility—which we don’t currently have, by the way,” says Reutzel. “You don’t want to put a Ferrari engine in a Yugo body. If we build a Ferrari engine for the College’s programs, then we want to have a Ferrari body, too.”
Reutzel described the initiative as "squishy" at the moment, but says its specifics will take shape in the months and years ahead. He and the planning group will submit an enhancement plan and funding request to the Daniels Fund in October.