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ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College creates knowledge, mobilizes people and takes action to improve education.

MLFTC faculty create knowledge by drawing from a wide range of academic disciplines to gain insight into important questions about the quality of teaching and learning and the performance of education systems. 

MLFTC mobilizes people through bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, through non-degree professional development programs and through socially embedded, multilateral community engagement. 

MLFTC takes action by bringing people and ideas together to increase the innovation capabilities of individual educators, schools and organizations, districts and communities.

Strategic initiatives

As an institution that excels at both educator preparation and world-class scholarly research, we have a role to play in changing systems, structures and cultures of education organizations. MLFTC is aligning its broad array of programs in support of strategic initiatives designed to address four of the most pressing challenges we face in education.

Educator Workforce

How should we develop and deploy a 21st-century education workforce?

We work with schools and community partners to design and deploy teams of professional educators that will provide the full range of expertise and personalized learning support that students need and deserve. This is a response to two crises: first, our education system does not reliably do what we need it to do for nearly enough people and communities; second, we have a national shortage of educators as teachers retire or quit and as enrollment in traditional teacher preparation programs continues to shrink. Clearly, we need to redesign education jobs, the workplace and how we prepare people for both. We are developing pathways to education careers in addition to traditional undergraduate and graduate degrees. So we’re creating stackable certificates and a suite of credentials to create accessible on-ramps. Designing a better, more sustainable education workforce requires that we build strong civil-society partnerships committed to the success of learners.

Community Design Labs

How can we work with schools and communities to tackle a wide range of challenges? 

Through community design labs, we are working with administrators, teachers, parents, school students, community foundations and others to define and address important education challenges. With our ability to convene people and ideas, we can lead an open-ended design process that values context, diverse perspectives and continuous improvement. We are committed to building capacity in schools and communities so they thrive as education innovators.

Contextual Models 

How can we prototype effective systems in schools and other learning environments?

By combining our knowledge of personalized learning, our vision of a more responsive education workforce and our commitment to community-designed solutions, we can prototype educational approaches in schools that bring educators and technology together to improve learner outcomes and experience. We have a growing network of schools and districts working with us to develop school-specific and community-specific models.

Use-Inspired Research

How can we connect our research to schools and other learning environments?

We aspire to become a national model for how to make knowledge useful by connecting our excellence in research and scholarship to practical challenges faced every day by American educators and education systems. We seek to generate even more team-based, cross-disciplinary research that improves the lives of learners, the impact of educators and the performance of education systems.

Core values 

Our faculty and staff aspire to embody in ourselves and instill in our students the qualities of creative intrapreneurship and educated character.

Creative intrapreneurship 

Creative intrapreneurs drive change within institutions and systems. They ask the right questions, navigate uncertainty and work in teams to design solutions to tough challenges. We should prepare educators who can work at different social and organizational scales: with individual learners and peers; with principals and superintendents; with parents and community organizations; with partners in both the private and public sectors.

Character education 

Character adds purpose to the creative energy of innovation. Our model of character education addresses different realms of relationships: between teachers and students; among teachers; among students; and among both teachers and students and the people with whom they interact in their professional and personal orbits. Our approach to character education is inclusive, open-minded and informed by the conviction that one of the purposes of education is to nurture civil society.