An education initiative, the newest of three University of Wyoming initiatives, could be moving to the next level after the UW Board of Trustees approved to submit a grant request to the Daniels Fund on Thursday morning.

The education initiative, created by a Trustee resolution in November, is meant to raise the College of Education to new levels of excellence through outside research and recommendations by an Education Initiative Board, said Trustee President Dave Palmerlee.

“Eventually, these recommendations will come back to the college with the expectation that the college will be the preeminent preparation college in the United States,” he said. “Those graduates will go into our K-12 system and produce top-flight students who have been taught by these top-flight educators.”

The Education Initiative Board, to be created if the Daniels Fund accepts the grant request, was discussed in-depth by the trustees — the main point of contention being the amount of control the board could possess.

“As envisioned in the application, there’s a group that would oversee the education initiative,” said Chad Baldwin, vice president of communications and marketing. “It would be composed of some people on the Board of Trustees and others. The central question is, as laid out in the application, that (education initiative) board would have more authority than, say, the science initiative task force.”

Some trustees wanted the Education Initiative Board to be on equal grounds with the other task force boards. Regardless, UW General Counsel Rick Miller said the board would be subordinate to the Trustees.

“Whatever this new board is, it cannot be empowered to make decisions and spend money over the objection of the university’s Board of Trustees,” he said. “If they decide to act in some action in regards to some activity of this board and to the expenditure of funds, then the board of trustees still retains that ultimate authority.”

Because the Daniels Fund is a private organization, UW did not release the funding amounts shown in the grant. The amounts will be made public if the grant is accepted.

While costs were not released, a broad, five-year timeline was provided. The initiative is split into two phases — a strategic plan phase and an implementation phase.

Phase one includes establishing governing and advisory boards, expanding financial support and begin identifying and evaluating best practices and preeminent programs. The second phase will determine how to best deliver and integrate the best practices into the school.

The dean of the College of Education, the Wyoming School Boards Association, the Wyoming Association of School Administrators and other relevant groups should be consulted throughout the process, Palmerlee said.

The grant application will be sent after minor changes, such as typographical errors, are fixed. However, the Trustees should have the opportunity to make changes to the initiative and the education initiative board at a later date.

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