Q: What is a Teachers Institute?
A: Teachers Institutes are partnerships between universities and school districts designed to strengthen teaching and learning in a community’s high-poverty public schools. An Institute places equal emphasis on teachers increasing their knowledge of a subject and their developing teaching strategies that will be effective with their students. At the core of its program is a series of collaborative seminars on subjects in the humanities and the sciences. Topics are requested by the teachers based on what they think could enrich their classroom instruction. In the seminars, university or college faculty members (seminar leaders) contribute their knowledge of a subject, while the school teachers (Fellows) contribute their expertise in elementary and secondary school pedagogy, their understanding of the students they teach, and their grasp of what works in the crucible of the classroom. Successful completion of a seminar requires that the teachers, with guidance from a faculty member, write an original curriculum unit to be used in their own classroom and to be shared with others in the same school and other schools through electronic publication.
Tulsa teachers have the opportunity to engage with Yale University faculty through the Yale National Initiative®. The University of Tulsa is currently in the planning phase for a local Teachers Institute, which will pair Tulsa Teachers with TU faculty.
Q: Is there a cost for participating in the Yale National Initiative® or a local Teachers Institute?
A: Fellows are not charged for participation; in fact, both local and national Fellows receive a stipend upon completion of their curriculum units. At the national level, room & board and meals in the dining halls are provided. Occasionally, Fellows are asked to purchase books to read for the seminar, but most materials are provided.
Q: How much time will teachers spend if they participate?
A: National Fellows visit Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, three times during the year, including a four-day visit in May, a two-week visit in July, and a four-day visit in October. Additionally, national Fellows spend time reading and writing curriculum units in between visits to New Haven.
Local Fellows will attend seminars on the TU campus on Monday nights from 5:30-7:30pm from early November through early April. Seminars will not be held during the winter break, but Fellows will use this as a reading period.
Q: What are the benefits of participation to teachers?
A: Many Fellows have commented that this is the best professional development in which they’ve ever participated. Fellows have the opportunity to develop curriculum units tailored to their own needs, classes, and styles. On a personal level, Fellows get to tap into their own desire to learn and the excitement that led them to teaching in the first place. Additionally, local Fellows establish a network of colleagues from across the district with whom to collaborate and national Fellows do the same with colleagues from across the nation.
Q: How can institute seminars be applied to different content areas and age groups?
A: Participating Fellows often have the opportunity to develop cross-curricular units which can be applied not only to their own subjects but to many others as well. See the National Fellows and Curriculum page for links to the units created by Tulsa Fellows.
Q: If I participate in the local Teachers Institute, do I have to participate in the Yale National Initiative?
A: Once a fellow has successfully completed the local Teachers Institute, they have the opportunity to apply to participate in the Yale National Initiative. Participation is not mandatory.
Q: What are the qualifications required to be a fellow?
A: Both local and national Fellows are intellectually curious, have high standards for their students, and desire to improve their content knowledge. Fellows are expected to commit to remaining in the classroom in TPS for at least three years. Teachers in core content areas and the humanities are welcomed. Due to the workload, first year teachers are not a good fit for the Teachers Institute.
Q: How do I apply to participate in 2017?
A: Applications for the Yale National Initiative will be available in early January 2017 and are due Friday, January 27, 2017. Prospective national Fellows should plan to attend the Virtual Open House on January 23, 2017 to communicate with Yale faculty about the seminars and ask any questions they may have.
Applications for the local Institute will be available beginning September 1, 2017 at utulsa.edu/teachers and will be due October 1, 2017.