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Potsdam provost enjoys role on state ed. advisory board

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POTSDAM — SUNY Potsdam Provost Margaret E. Madden’s influence extends farther than the nearly 4,500 students on her campus — it stretches across the state.

Ms. Madden was recently appointed to the state Teaching Standards and Practices Board by the New York Board of Regents.

The board advises the regents on matters of teacher training, certification and the accreditation of education programs throughout New York.

“I think the board’s job is to make sure the board of regents is aware of the implications and practical ramifications of the various policy decisions they have before them,” Ms. Madden said. “In particular, I am personally interested in potential changes in teacher prep programs.”

Ms. Madden said the board balances setting high standards to ensure New York produces excellent teachers with a need for teaching to remain a viable and attractive career choice.

“I think one of the issues that this board will be considering is how to make sure that the practices and guidelines and requirements at the state level don’t interfere with peoples’ attraction to education as a profession,” she said. “Right now, districts are laying-off teachers, but these things go in cycles.”

The board’s work is divided between primary and secondary schools and education programs at university campuses. Ms. Madden sits on the board’s higher education subcommittee.

“The subcommittee generally reviews issues and policies that are related to the teacher preparation programs and the certification of teachers,” Ms. Madden said.“Specifically it is required to review issues related to accreditation of teacher programs in the state.”

When a teacher is accused of a breach of ethics, the cases come before the board, Ms. Madden said.

“The review of cases is actually primarily performed by the subcommittee that is comprised of K-12 teachers,” she said.“So normally, I wouldn’t serve on that, except at times when they need a quorum.”

The position gives Ms. Madden a leg-up on her work as provost, as she can track changes in New York teaching standards and bring them back to the SUNY Potsdam campus, which houses graduate programs in education.

“You may have read some of the press about the new ways in which teachers will be evaluated — that is of great interest to the board as a whole,” she said.“Particularly in higher education that will have an impact in how we prepare future educators.”

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