Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

UNC System launches Coalition for Early Learning and Literacy in teacher preparation

The following is a press release from the University of North Carolina System

The University of North Carolina System announces the launch of the Early Learning and Literacy Impact Coalition, a group of five educator preparation programs across North Carolina focused on improving preschool and elementary teaching. The network is the first community of practice to emerge from the work of the UNC System’s Educator Preparation Advisory Group. The advisory group comprises 20 leaders from across the state’s education preparation programs and P12 public schools, charged with prioritizing and developing System-wide strategies and initiatives to improve teacher preparation in North Carolina.

“Too many of our students in North Carolina lack access to the educational opportunities they deserve,” said Julie Kowal, associate vice president for P12 Strategy & Policy at the UNC System. “The success of our state’s efforts to expand early learning opportunities and early literacy will depend in large part on the skills and knowledge of the teachers that work with our youngest students. As the state’s largest single source of public school teachers, the University of North Carolina System is committed to supporting continuous improvement and innovation in the preparation of preschool and elementary educators.”

The Impact Coalition is a partnership between the UNC System Office and Deans for Impact, a national non-profit organization dedicated to transforming educator preparation through scientific evidence and leader-driven networks. Deans for Impact oversaw a competitive application process for the Coalition across both public and private university-based educator preparation programs in North Carolina. The following programs were selected from a strong set of proposals:

  • UNC-Charlotte’s Cato College of Education
  • Elon University’s School of Education
  • UNC-Pembroke’s School of Education
  • Western Carolina University’s College of Education and Allied Professions 
  • Winston-Salem State University’s Department of Education

With support from the Deans for Impact team, administrators and faculty from these five educator preparation programs will convene throughout 2019 to explore how to incorporate insights from early learning science – particularly regarding the development of literacy, numeracy, and student agency – into their preparation of teachers to lead birth through third grade classrooms.

“North Carolina has long been recognized as a national leader in early childhood education, and one with a strong statewide educator preparation system,” said Benjamin Riley, Deans for Impact’s executive director. “With new initiatives such as the B3 Interagency Council and the UNC System’s Educator Preparation Advisory Group focusing attention on the power of effective preparation of preschool and elementary teachers, the voice and insights of deans and their faculty has never been more needed, or potentially more powerful.”

The Early Learning and Literacy Impact Coalition is made possible with support from SAS and the Belk Foundation. Learnings and recommendations from the coalition will be shared with the UNC System’s Educator Preparation Advisory Group and with faculty, staff, and practitioners across educator preparation programs in North Carolina and the nation as well. 

About the UNC System 

The University of North Carolina System enrolls more than 230,000 students at 17 institutions, including all 16 of the state’s public universities, as well as the nation’s first public residential high school for academically gifted students, N.C. School of Science and Mathematics. The UNC System is among the strongest and most diverse higher education systems in the nation, with $1.5 billion in research expenditures, a wide array of HBCUs, liberal arts institutions, comprehensive universities and R-1 research institutions. Its institutions support 15 schools of education, which prepare approximately 37 percent of all public school teachers in North Carolina.

About Deans for Impact

Deans for Impact is a national non-profit that empowers leaders at all levels of educator preparation who are committed to transforming the field and elevating the teaching profession. Deans for Impact has facilitated networked learning experiences with leaders of over 50 institutions across 27 states. In designing learning experiences, the organization aims to create inclusive and collaborative spaces that leverage the diverse expertise of participants, address participants’ real problems of practice, and provide concrete examples while recognizing the importance of local context and variation in programs’ improvement journeys.


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.