PULLMAN, Wash. — Schools and colleges of education need to awaken to modern marketing realities: first, to protect their own interests by joining in the public debate about educational reform; and second, to use professional information officers for assistance as they reach out. That is the message in a new book published by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, “The Role of Information Officers in Schools of Education.”
The book is part of the ongoing leadership series, aimed at providing an overview of a current reform issue for the deans, department chairs and other educational college administrators who are AACTE members, said Susan Cimburek, senior director for professional development at AACTE.
“The information officer performs a critical role in organizing the college to speak with one voice and in sharing that message with external audiences,” Cimburek said. “With this book, we hope our member institutions will consider strengthening that role to help them face the challenges ahead.”
In the book’s introduction, editor Bill London, information officer from the College of Education at Washington State University, explains that the institutions that rely on traditional reputations and functions, instead of involvement in the information marketplace, will lose both prestige and resources. Because of their ever-increasing concern for educational quality, Americans are beginning to assume that schools and colleges that prepare teachers are part of the problem — if information officers haven’t convinced them otherwise. Those institutions that are viewed as part of the problem will be marginalized and ultimately replaced, London argued.
The book has six authors, including London. The authors are all members of InformED, the national network for information officers from colleges of education. London is the group’s founder and coordinator. The organization meets “virtually” through their e-mail list and web site to share ideas and suggestions. This year, InformED members will also meet face-to-face as a Special Study Group at the AACTE national conference in February and at the American Educational Research Association national meeting in April. The group’s web site address is http://www.vpds.wsu.edu/InformED/.
The book can be purchased from the AACTE publications office at One Dupont Circle, Suite 610, Washington, D.C. 20036-1186, 202/293-2450. AACTE is the nation’s professional organization for administrators and faculty from higher education programs of teacher preparation, with 730 member institutions and more than 5,000 representatives, including deans, chairs and faculty from member institutions.

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NOTE TO MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES: Review copies of the book are available to authorized media representatives from Deborah Hinrichs at AACTE, 202/293-2450, fax 202/457-8095, dah@aacte.nche.edu.