Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Mark McDermott, associate dean for teacher education and student services at the University of Iowa College of Education, was recently named an Impact Academy fellow through the national non-profit organization Deans for Impact (DFI). McDermott joins a cohort of leaders chosen for their commitment to improving educator preparation. 

Mark McDermott

Educator-preparation programs today face complex challenges as they recruit and prepare teachers who are equipped to engage all PK-12 students in rigorous, equitable, and affirming learning experiences. More than ever, the field needs leaders who can strengthen and diversify the educator workforce. DFI aims to fill this need through its Impact Academy fellowship, which has empowered more than 130 dean-level leaders to-date with skills, knowledge, and strategies to prioritize instructional quality and build more equitable systems of teaching and learning.

McDermott is one of 17 leaders announced as part of the fellowship’s ninth cohort. These fellows lead programs that serve 19 U.S. states and a broad diversity of geographic contexts from coast to coast. Forty-seven percent lead institutions that serve a majority of aspiring teachers of color, and 41 percent are leaders of color themselves. Six are Minority-Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Predominantly Black Institutions, and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Collectively, 48% of the aspiring teachers these institutions annually serve identify as people of color.

“I am very much looking forward to this great opportunity to learn from others who are leading teacher education programs around the country and national leaders in preparing effective educators for all students,” McDermott says. 

McDermott adds this is a great opportunity for him to share the important work faculty, staff, and students are doing in the UI College of Education’s Teacher Education Program.

“I also look forward to getting feedback on how we can build on our strengths and explore new initiatives to partner with internal and external stakeholders,” McDermott says, “with the overall goal of preparing more great teachers who will have a positive impact on K-12 students for a long time to come.”

Fellows will participate in monthly learning sessions, receive one-on-one coaching from seasoned leaders, and engage in peer consultancies to address field-facing challenges in real-time. They will hone their ability to engage faculty, staff, communities, and PK-12 partners in a shared vision for transformative change, grounded in a deep scientific understanding about how students learn.

 “All students, and particularly students of color and students from underserved communities, deserve access to teachers who are well-prepared to engage them in rigorous and affirming learning experiences from day one,” says Valerie Sakimura, executive director of DFI. “We are thrilled to welcome a new cohort of leaders to Impact Academy who are committed to making that a reality, by doubling down on the essential role they play in making pathways into teaching more accessible, practice-based, and focused on evidence-based instruction.” 

To learn more about this year’s Impact Academy cohort, visit:

The College of Education, created in 1847, is the top-ranked college of education in Iowa, advancing education and mental health in Iowa and beyond by preparing teachers, mental health professionals, leaders, and researchers, providing services and resources, and engaging in research and scholarship through more than 80 different academic opportunities.

The College of Education’s vision is to create the best educational and mental health outcomes for all. The college offers world-class undergraduate and graduate programs. We produce leaders, with our alumni going on to excel in teaching, counseling, educational administration, student development, psychology, higher education, measurement, adaptive assessment, and more.