Amy Broemmel, associate professor of literacy and elementary education, has been a faculty member of the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education since August 2002. In August 2014, she assumed the newly created role of graduate studies director for TPTE.
When asked about the creation of this new position, Broemmel noted that Sherry Bell, TPTE department head, saw the need to pull together the various duties associated with graduate studies. These duties include working with support staff to organize and collect data; monitoring the progression of graduate students; writing letters of support for fellowship applicants and other scholarship applicants; representing TPTE at university-wide meetings regarding graduate studies; organizing the handbooks and orientation sessions and facilitating that process; and heading the graduate studies committee. Previously, those duties had been spread among a number of people.
In addition to this new role, Broemmel still leads the Roane County/Lenoir City Elementary cohort. In her view, the strongest aspect of UT teacher licensure program is the yearlong internship in which the university and public schools work collaboratively to support the development of pre-service teachers in the real life context of classrooms while they are also taking graduate level courses to extend their knowledge of teaching. As she said, “Our teacher licensure programs provide the balance between theory and practice.”
Broemmel remarked that one of the biggest challenges today is preparing teachers to teach in such a way that they hold themselves accountable for implementing the instruction that meets the needs of all students in contexts where their autonomy is extremely limited. She noted that teacher educators must continually highlight best practices but also acknowledge that there are significant challenges that our interns will face when they enter the classroom.
In summing up her work, Broemmel conveyed one of her goals as both a TPTE faculty member and the new TPTE graduate studies director. “I want the teachers we prepare to be humble yet confident enough to exhibit the leadership skills we are trying to help them develop.”