Philander Smith College launches ACITE

Arkansas Center for Innovation in Teacher Excellence hosts professional development seminar for teachers

Little Rock, Ark. (October 13, 2017) --- The Arkansas Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence (ACITE) at Philander Smith College hosted its first ever professional development seminar open to educators across the state. The two-day conference, held Oct. 11-12 on the PSC campus, centered around cultural competency in the classroom with the theme “Promoting Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Better Serve Culturally Diverse Students.”

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Two nationally known speakers were brought in to address conference attendees. For the opening day, H. Richard Milner IV, Ph.D., spoke on Ten Reminders in Meeting the Needs of Culturally Diverse Learners. Milner is a published author and education professor at The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education, while serving also as director of Pitt’s Center for Urban Education. On Thursday, Oct. 12, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, who is considered to be a co-creator of the concept of cultural competence, gave an engaging presentation on the topic of Why Should Educators Be Culturally Competent? Billings is a pedagogical theorist and teacher educator on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education and researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

 More than 100 participants attended ACITE’s inaugural conference, including educators from eight Arkansas school districts (Arkadelphia, Bentonville, Dollarway, Jacksonville-North Pulaski, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Pulaski County Special and Watson Chapel), as well as three higher education institutions (University of the Ozarks, Shorter College and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock). Additionally, nine of PSC’s teacher education students also participated.

 This was the first conference of many planned by ACITE that will offer timely and relevant instructional topics – as well as continuing education units – to educators statewide. 

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Founded in 1877, Philander Smith College is one of the oldest private, historically Black institutions of higher learning in Arkansas. A four-year liberal arts college, the institution is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is the only United Negro College Fund member school in the state.  Philander Smith College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of NCA.