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A Little Finland, a Little Canada, a Lot of Moxie: Why One Indianapolis Teachers College Is Betting It Can Train More Successful Educators After a Radical Reboot

On a recent Friday, Kenith Britt joined a group of Marian University faculty members who were courting a student athlete over lunch. A young African-American man with a GPA of 3.99, the prospective student wanted to study engineering, like his father.

Britt gave his standard pitch for Marian’s brand-new Klipsch Educators College, the Indianapolis program where he is dean. “You can become a teacher, or you can become a teacher,” he joked at the end. “Those are your choices.”

A former teacher himself, Britt was part of a Marian team that created the new teachers college. After concluding that the university could do a better job of training educators to reach disadvantaged students, the group — which included Britt, the university president, and a state lawmaker with expertise in teacher training policy — spent a year researching international best practices from the countries with the highest-performing teachers.

Then, two years ago, with the research complete, Marian shut down its traditional college of education and reopened as an innovative and ambitious program designed to graduate teachers with the skills and experience to make a difference in the classroom from day one.