Source: Action in Teacher Education, Volume 34, Issue 2, 2012, p. 191-198.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article describes the birth and success of Emerging Scholars program.
This is a new program of Association of Teacher Educators (ATE), which designed to help graduate students and those new to teacher education develop a voice in the profession through research and publication.
ATE has been inclusive of many professionals whom traditional academic organizations and institutions might see as residing on the fringe of scholarship at best.
Although inclusive of those who occupy different and various roles as teacher educators, ATE has also encouraged research and publication from all of its membership from the very first years of its existence.
Through the years, ATE has attempted in various ways to help graduate students and those new to teacher education to have a voice in the profession through research and publication.
Two significant events stand out as evidence of these efforts:
1. The ATE Distinguished Dissertation Award
The first ATE Distinguished Dissertation Award in Teacher Education was presented in 1981 at the annual meeting in Dallas, TX.
The award was originally designed to recognize exemplary doctoral-level research that significantly contributed to the improvement of teacher education and promoted dissertation studies pertaining to teacher education.
2. Graduate Student Research Forum
In addition, over the years ATE has conducted sessions especially for graduate students at the annual meetings, and in 2004 those efforts were galvanized into the first Graduate Student Research Forum.
The Graduate Student Research Forum provided a place for doctoral students to grapple in a safe environment with issues related to their own research agendas.
The Emerging Scholars Program was marketed to new assistant professors and advanced doctoral students in the Call for Proposals for ATE's 2011 annual meeting held in Orlando, FL.
This provided the opportunity for each research mentor to read his or her scholars' work prior to the conference and provide helpful feedback as well as to look across the papers for themes and advice to offer as the discussant of each emerging scholars session at the annual meeting.
The purpose and structure of the Emerging Scholars opening reception and presentation sessions certainly struck a responsive chord with the participants.
Doctoral students seemed to appreciate the time and opportunity to network with each other, as well as to receive valuable feedback on their research from educators outside their normal sphere of influence.
The primary motivation behind the establishment of Emerging Scholars focused on the benefits to graduate students and younger faculty.
However, the mentor faculty who attended the sessions and interacted with the Emerging Scholars benefitted as well.
Finally, the ATE hosts two professional meetings annually that serve as an opportunity for beginning scholars to share new, unpublished research as well as research in progress in a national setting.
Networking with senior faculty who attend the annual meeting and the summer conference often leads to forming relationships with peer mentors and building networks that create additional opportunities for collaborative inquiry in expanded settings.
The authors conclude that new avenues of expression, such as the Emerging Scholars sessions at the ATE annual meetings and the publication of this special thematic issue of Action in Teacher Education, are continuing the long tradition of ATE's commitment to the professional development of all teacher educators and the continuous improvement of the teaching profession.