Wayne State University
New student organization helps future teachers get to head of class

New student organization helps future teachers get to head of class

Group encourages students to examine issues and ideas in education

Pre-Morris Hood is a new student organization dedicated to providing students from underrepresented groups who are pursuing careers in education with academic, career and peer support. The organization also seeks to help students gain admission to the Morris Hood Scholars program upon admission to level two in the college.

“The benefits we provide members working toward becoming certified teachers are unparalleled,” said Andrew Oughton, president of the organization and a participant in the Morris Hood Scholars program. “We help students network, navigate campus resources, locate scholarships, boost study skills and understand how to be successful in their job search. These benefits alone should be enough to attract students. However, what we also offer is a significant social brotherhood within a discipline where such a community is rare.”

Although the Morris Hood Scholars program seeks to increase the number of males of color who enter the teaching profession, membership in the Pre-Morris Hood student organization is open to students enrolled in any of the college’s teacher preparation programs that provide Michigan Teacher Certification.

“The primary goal is that participation in the Pre-Morris Hood student organization will help students successfully complete their teacher certification through the college’s teacher preparation program, but we also hope students will gain an understanding of the current climate in K-12 education and engage in personal and professional development activities,” said Kurt Troutman, academic services officer, coordinator of the Pre-Morris Hood Scholars program and staff advisor for the Pre-Morris Hood student organization. “Students should also develop an understanding of social justice issues surrounding underrepresented groups in education. Hopefully, the organization will provide students with a place and platform where they can become advocates.” 

Although the Pre-Morris Hood student organization and learning community are closely linked, the learning community is coordinated by staff members in the Division of Academic Services, while the organization is run by students who plan and organize programs, events and activities that align with members’ interests. Oughton noted that the organization offers students some advantages, including access to campus resources such as room reservations, as well as more flexibility and independence.

Members will meet six to 12 times during a semester. While meetings are usually held in room 30, other events and activities — including workshops and sports outings — may take place in other locations around campus. In addition to hosting an information table in the Student Center every other Tuesday to recruit new members, students also are heavily involved in creating a calendar of events. The student organization will host its first program, a panel discussion about the school-to-prison pipeline, on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Featured panelists include Mark Fancher, an attorney for the Michigan ACLU; Isaiah McKinnon, Ph.D., associate professor or education at the University of Detroit Mercy and former police chief and deputy mayor of Detroit; and Sherita Smith, development director at the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation and an expert on community-school engagement. The program will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Student Center, Room 285.

“This issue is timely given current political rhetoric, economic questions, social concerns and so on here in Detroit and the broader United States,” said Oughton. “It brings together a number of topics at the forefront of current conversations and concerns about the teaching profession. There is the obvious aspect of the pipeline's negative effects on education itself, but it also touches on issues like social and economic conditions surrounding public schools, structural racism, and what constitutes ‘necessary discipline.’ For these reasons, the issue should be particularly relevant to future teachers and Morris Hood Scholars.”

To learn more about the event or to register, visit events.wayne.edu/2017/02/08/examining-the-school-to-prison-pipeline-69899/. For more information about the Pre-Morris Hood student organization, visit orgsync.com/148011/chapter or contact Kurt Troutman at kurt.troutman@wayne.edu or 313-577-1717.

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