AACTE’s Committee on Professional Preparation and Accountability has selected Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), to receive the 2017 AACTE David G. Imig Award for Distinguished Achievement in Teacher Education. The award will be presented at the 69th AACTE Annual Meeting Welcoming Session, Thursday, March 2, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.
The Imig Award, named for AACTE President and CEO Emeritus David G. Imig, recognizes distinguished achievement in the formulation, implementation, or analysis of teacher education policy, or in the performance of distinguished scholarship in educator preparation.
Zimpher is known for her remarkable vision and ability to put it into action, especially in the service of human development through coordinated networks of “cradle-to-career” services. According to the selection committee, Zimpher has “distinguished herself in the formation and implementation of educator preparation policy at a number of levels across multiple institutions and states. As cofounder of StriveTogether, Zimpher has been instrumental in creating a national network of systematic partnerships that holistically addresses challenges across the entire spectrum of education. Never forgetting her roots in educator preparation, Zimpher has remained current in her research while also developing a record of achievement that is on par with anyone in our profession.”
“SUNY could not be more proud of Chancellor Zimpher and her being named the recipient of the 2017 David G. Imig Award,” said SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall. “Nancy has built her career, her life, on the all-important effort of advancing—in fact, reinventing—teacher education. In every position she takes on she challenges her peers and colleagues to think and act differently toward making teacher preparation the rigorous, serious training profession our state and nation need it to be. Congratulations to Chancellor Zimpher, and deep thanks to AACTE for acknowledging her singular, superior contributions to the field.”
In one of many letters of support filed with the nomination for AACTE’s award, University of Dayton Dean Emeritus Tom Lasley writes that Zimpher “has been instrumental in both formulating and implementing education policy around teacher education” both at the state and the national level. Lasley also commends Zimpher’s contributions to the literature and professional knowledge base, noting that she “always seems to be one step ahead of her professional peers in her ability to analyze ideas as well as her capacity to implement strategies that will make a difference. Without a doubt, her professional writing during the past 20-30 years represents consistent awareness of necessary next-generation teacher preparation and policy practices.”
In another letter of support, SUNY Provost Faculty Fellow Kenneth O’Brien lauds Zimpher’s ability to mobilize a range of resources and interests in service of a common goal, which served SUNY well early in her tenure as she led a comprehensive effort to guarantee credit transfer across the system’s 64 campuses, including 30 community colleges. O’Brien notes that the same ability and drive have contributed to the ambitious undertaking of TeachNY in partnership with the state commissioner of education, comprising multiple phases of work developing policy and program recommendations that promise to “long outlive Chancellor Zimpher’s tenure.”
Zimpher became SUNY chancellor in 2009 and has made her mark through a variety of bold initiatives, including dramatic expansion of cooperative education and new partnerships with PK-12 schools through the SUNY Teacher and Leader Education Network and, later, TeachNY. She recently served as chair of the National Association of System Heads, the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and CEOs for Cities as well as the NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships. Before coming to SUNY, Zimpher was president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at the Ohio State University – from which she also earned all three of her degrees. She has served on the board of directors of AACTE, the American Council on Education, the former National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the former Holmes Group/Holmes Partnership, and other education and civic groups. Zimpher’s numerous recognitions and awards include AACTE’s Pomeroy Award in 1999.
Nominations for the Imig Award are reviewed by the AACTE Committee on Professional Preparation and Accountability. AACTE issued a press release announcing all of its 2017 award winners. For more information on AACTE’s awards program, visit http://aacte.org/professional-development-and-events/awards. Applications for next year’s awards open in June.