Student Named to State Teaching Commission

USF sociology and dual degree in teacher preparation student Grace Wakefield ’16, MAT ’17 beat out other top California students earlier this year to win a student-liaison seat on the state’s teacher credentialing board.

The 21-member California Commission on Teacher Credentialing sets teacher standards and oversees testing and certification.

The appointment puts Wakefield at the center of state discussions on how to reverse shortages of bilingual, special education, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teachers. She’s also involved in a new initiative to ensure teachers can demonstrate competence on socio-emotional and cultural issues as well as in academics.

“I’m a voice for teaching candidates, which is critical because the credentialing board’s decisions directly impact what we have to do in order to become teachers,” Wakefield says.

A multiyear USF President’s Merit Award Scholarship recipient, Wakefield is co-president and co-founder of the Future Teacher Association club on campus, a social and professional support group for aspiring and current educators. She’s also a co-researcher, with communications Assistant Professor Brandi Lawless, studying how students perceive teachers’ communication of emotions and how it impacts their performance.

Wakefield was drawn to the dual degree program for its critical-pedagogy approach, its embrace of social justice, and because she’ll be able to graduate in five years with a teaching credential.