What does it mean to be a member of the MSUNER?

When a district joins the MSUNER, and pays membership dues, it makes a commitment to work toward achieving the mission and goals of the Network. This also means accepting (and giving priority to) Montclair State University pre-service teachers for field placements and student teaching, and working with colleagues from Montclair State University and other partner districts to effect change and renewal in schools and in teacher education.

What does membership in the MSUNER mean for teachers?

Teachers in partner districts can apply to the University for appointment as Clinical Faculty members. We seek experienced, highly-effective teachers who see themselves as learners as well as teachers, who are eager to serve as role models and mentors for teacher education students, and who value culturally responsive teaching and teaching for critical thinking as central to their work with students.

Once appointed, Clinical Faculty members may serve as cooperating teachers, on-site education mentors, co-facilitators of workshops, co-teachers of student teaching seminars, and adjunct faculty for other courses at the University. They also have campus privileges including general parking and a Montclair State University ID card that allows access to Sprague Library and the ADP Center for Teacher Preparation and Learning Technologies.

All Clinical Faculty members take three required mini-courses on coaching and mentoring, teaching for critical thinking, and culturally-responsive teaching. For many Clinical Faculty members, the opportunity to meet, work, and study with colleagues from other districts who share their professionalism and commitment is a major benefit of membership in the MSUNER.

How does the MSUNER contribute to school renewal?

In many MSUNER partner schools, Clinical Faculty members meet regularly as a group with student teachers to discuss important issues of teaching, learning, and mentoring. This climate of professionalism and spirit of inquiry contributes to the renewal of schools and teacher education. The MSUNER offers a wide array of professional development programs and activities that enhance teachers' knowledge and skills and help create a climate of continuous improvement in Network schools.

    • Summer Conference: an annual conference each June where grant recipients share their research and best practices with their colleagues through a series of conference presentations and poster sessions.
    • Technology Workshops and Annual Conference: MSUNER sponsors technology workshops each semester and an annual January technology conference through the ADP Center for Teacher Preparation and Learning Technologies. MSUNER teachers and administrators participate in workshops on integrating technology into the curriculum.
    • Teacher Study Groups: Each district receives up to $1,000 to fund Teacher Study Groups in their district. Teachers work together over the course of the academic year on an area of professional interest or an academic project.
    • Dodge Action Research Teams: Teams of six educators from partner school districts conduct a year-long intensive action research/self-study professional development experience that involves researching and transforming teaching practice.
    • Teacher Incentive Grants: Grant amounts ranging from $100-$200 are awarded to teachers to work on a specific short-term project. The purpose of this grant is to encourage teachers to enhance student learning by experimenting with new teaching strategies and projects.
    • Teachers as Scholars: teachers and administrators are provided an opportunity to immerse themselves in scholarly topics and issues in small, liberal arts seminars offered by University faculty. Seminars focus on three main areas: Great Lives and Literatures; Living, Learning, and the Arts; and Science Matters.
  • Finally, because the MSUNER is a member of the foremost national school and teacher education renewal organization, the National Network for Educational Renewal, MSUNER partners have the opportunity to participate in national conferences and forums devoted to school and teacher education renewal.

How do partner districts and clinical faculty contribute to teacher education renewal?

The importance of field-based teacher education to the overall quality and success of teacher education cannot be overestimated. Our expectation is that all students will have their student teaching experiences in Network schools with Clinical Faculty members. This means our student teachers can learn from and with experienced, highly-effective teachers who understand and exemplify teaching for critical thinking. This also enables us to place our student teachers in schools where teachers collaborate with one another, take reflection seriously, and see themselves as learners as well as teachers.

We promote a co-teaching model for the student teaching experience. This allows for the cooperating teacher and student teacher to share the classroom responsibilities and give more individual attention to the students.

In addition, Clinical Faculty members from partner schools serve on committees and task forces at the University, thus adding their valuable input into the renewal and development of the teacher education program at Montclair State University.

Membership Responsibilities for Member Districts

  • Agree to actively participate in the MSUNER for a minimum period of two years by formal ratification of the district Board of Education or the Superintendent.
  • Provide active representation to the MSUNER Executive and Operations Committees.
  • Select a District Coordinator.
  • Demonstrate commitment to the mission of the Network.
  • Agree to give priority to students from Montclair State University for placement in clinical assignments.
  • Contribute annual dues as specified by the MSUNER Executive Committee.
  • Agree to implement the established criteria and procedures for the selection and retention of Clinical Faculty.
  • Agree to promote, support, and acknowledge the participation and leadership activities of Clinical Faculty in MSUNER activities including those related to professional development and teacher education.
  • Participate in dissemination and evaluation activities of the MSUNER.

Membership Responsibilities for Montclair State University

  1. Provides director for the MSUNER.
  2. Provides office space, secretarial support, and mail and telephone service for the MSUNER.
  3. Grants appointment as Clinical Faculty to qualified personnel from member districts.
  4. Provides representation on the Executive and Operations Committees.
  5. Finances and manages the budget of the MSUNER.
  6. Provides space and funding for MSUNER professional development programs and events.
  7. Compiles a database of faculty members willing to consult in MSUNER schools at special rates.
  8. Enables faculty members to do work in MSUNER schools through the Faculty Scholarship Program.
  9. Facilitates grant writing and information about external funding sources for the MSUNER.