Ball State University has been honored nationally for its leadership and innovation in teacher education.

Ball State and Old Dominion University (Va.) have been named the 2005 recipients of the Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

The purpose of the award is twofold: To recognize excellence in teacher education programs and to advance the field of teacher education by identifying promising practices and critical issues related to measuring the impact of programs on teacher candidate knowledge and the impact of these teachers on pupil learning, said AASCU President Constantine W. (Deno) Curris.

"Many of our teacher education programs are doing outstanding jobs," he said. "We want to recognize the best among those programs."

BallState is being recognized for creating the "Learning Assessment Model Project (LAMP): State-of-the-Art Evidence-Based Teaching." LAMP requires prospective teachers to use a specific assessment approach to graphically demonstrate student learning and guide standards-based instructional styles during their student teaching. They reflect on their own teaching and make effective decisions based on the assessment results.

"Ball State is honored to receive this award, especially because our Teachers College is committed to producing teachers who will strive for excellence like the award's namesake, Christa McAuliffe," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. "LAMP is one way in which we are ensuring that graduates of Teachers College know how to prepare lessons based on national and state standards and best practices. We believe this tool will help our graduates understand how to engage students in learning that will inspire them to become active, lifelong learners."

Old Dominion is being recognized for "Meeting the Needs of Virginia's Children with Disabilities: The Commonwealth Special Education Endorsement Program." The distance-learning teacher preparation program provides a readily accessible path to full licensure and highly qualified status for conditionally licensed special education teachers across Virginia ensuring a high-quality education for Virginia's children with disabilities.

"The Christa McAuliffe Award challenges teacher education programs to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs, an incredibly difficult task," said George L. Mehaffy, AASCU's vice president for Academic Leadership and Change, whose division oversees the award process. "Yet these two award winners have made striking progress in demonstrating the impact of their program on graduates and the impact of those graduates on K-12 students."

AASCU's Christa McAuliffe award, named in honor of the teacher who died in the Challenger disaster, was first presented in the 1980s. AASCU will present the award at their 2005 annual meeting Nov. 20-22 in Scottsdale, Ariz.AASCU represents more than 430 public colleges, universities and systems of higher education throughout the United States and its territories.