Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top

Eastern Partners with National Organization to Diversify the Teaching Profession

Published on October 13, 2015

Eastern Partners with National Organization to Diversify the Teaching Profession

Eastern Connecticut State University is participating in a new national partnership to grow Connecticut’s teaching workforce. The Holmes Masters program is designed to attract and prepare teachers from historically underrepresented populations. The initiative is the first of its kind within the region and reflects a partnership with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Holmes Scholars program. The inaugural cohort of Holmes Masters is scheduled to enroll for the summer 2016 term.

The Holmes Masters program is a new addition to the national Holmes network, along with the Holmes Honors program for undergraduate students and the Holmes Cadets for high school students. The organization has more than 20 years of experience supporting racial and ethnic minority doctoral students interested in education-related careers through its Holmes Scholars program.

The rate of minority teachers prepared, employed and retained across U.S. schools has not kept pace with the growing numbers of minority student populations. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (2012) demonstrate that students of color made up more than 45 percent of the PK–12 population, whereas teachers of color made up only 17.5 percent of the educator workforce. In Connecticut, only 7 percent of the teaching force represents minority communities compared to a student population composed of almost 40 percent of minority students.


The Eastern Holmes Masters program is poised to draw applicants from a national pool. Participants will have to meet rigorous admission standards set forth by both the Holmes network and the University. With a focus on equity and diversity, students will participate in university-school partnership programming that supports teacher preparation and PK-12 student learning. Holmes Masters will be supported with ongoing mentorship coordinated at the university and national levels.

“Eastern is proud to take the lead in the state to partner with AACTE,” said Jacob Easley II, dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies and Graduate Division. “As the number of minority students increases across our schools, it is important that the composition of qualified teachers directly reflecting their cultural backgrounds keeps pace.”

Rodrick Lucero, vice president for member engagement and support for AACTE, adds, “This generation of students has not responded to traditional recruitment strategies. By capitalizing on past successes of Holmes to create a tiered system equally rooted in quality, advocacy and mentorship, AACTE’s master’s program, spearheaded by Eastern, charts a course towards significantly increasing the number of service-ready minorities who will contribute to our profession as educators, administrators and policy experts.”

Written by Michael Rouleau