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MEDIA CONTACT: Janette Robbins


Florida Institute for the Advancement of Teaching at FAU Named Merit Finalist for Mutual of America Community Partnership Award


BOCA RATON, FL (February 17, 2010) – The Florida Institute for the Advancement of Teaching (FIAT), a program of Florida Atlantic University, has been named a Merit Finalist for the 2009 Mutual of America Community Partnership Award (CPA). FIAT is the first educational program within a university setting to be recognized with the CPA. To date, 140 partnerships throughout the United States have been recognized by the award program. A gift of $15,000 from Mutual of America to FAU accompanies this award.

“We could not have selected a better example of the spirit of the award,” said Thomas Gilliam, chairman of and chief executive officer of Mutual of America Foundation. “The FIAT program is an inspiring model of what can be done to establish a working partnership and what such collaboration can accomplish.”

The organizations and the individuals behind these organizations who have played integral roles in the FIAT program’s success were honored at a luncheon hosted by Mutual of America on January 26. In a special ceremony at the luncheon, Mutual of America presented silver coins to individuals who have shown extraordinary dedication to advancing the FIAT program, including Valerie Bristor, FAU College of Education dean; Glenn Thomas, FAU’s assistant dean of PK-12 schools and educational programs; David Rutherford, FAU’s director of gift planning; and Phoebe Raulerson, FAU College of Education advisory board member. FAU Interim President John Pritchett accepted coins on behalf of former FAU President Frank T. Brogan and former College of Education Dean Gregory Aloia. The coin presentation was a symbolic gesture of appreciation from Mutual of America. The FIAT program’s partners, which span eight Florida school districts, include three area colleges and are represented by such foundations as the Jim Moran Foundation, the Quantum Foundation, and Mary and Robert Pew Public Education Fund, received certificates from Mutual of America.

Providing practical, research-based and scalable solutions for Florida’s educational system, FIAT was established in 2002 within FAU’s College of Education and is funded by gifts from corporate and family foundations as well as private donors, and through grants from targeted school districts. In an effort to address the state’s critical teacher shortage, FIAT was created to recruit, prepare and retain quality teachers in Florida schools.

Comprised of three innovative and over-arching programs, Good FIT, SMaRT and AIT, FIAT is making a significant difference in the quality of education at more than 100 public and charter schools within the southeast region of the state. These schools are typically located in rural or urban areas and identified as struggling.  By supplying hands-on training to FAU and community college students who seek careers in teaching, each FIAT program is structured to offer institute participants increasing levels of classroom responsibility. Since the Institute’s inception, more than 1,000 students from FAU, as well as from Broward College, Palm Beach State College and Indian River State College, have served as instructional interns, substitute teachers and student-teachers. By molding future teachers with valuable classroom experience, the FIAT program has improved the lives of close to 75,000 K-12 students in Palm Beach County alone.

            The Mutual of America Community Partnership Award, established in 1995, honors the contributions that nonprofit organizations, in partnership with public, private and other social sector organizations, make to the public good. Each year, organizations take part in a national competition to demonstrate the value of their partnerships, their ability to be replicated and their capacity to stimulate new approaches to addressing social issues. 

The 2009 CPA recipients were determined by a selection committee that included Hon. Hugh L. Carey, the former governor of the state of New York; and Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Laureate and named professor at Boston University. The committee evaluates a program’s duration of partnership and its ability to address social issues and cultivate new ideas for partnerships.

“We are honored to be recognized with this prestigious award,” said FAU Interim President John Pritchett. “As FAU stands alongside other such 2009 honorees as the Barbara McInnis House of Boston, Massachusetts; the Family Connection of Dallas, Texas; and the Psychiatric Assertive Identification and Referral program of Indianapolis, Indiana, I feel a sense of pride in all that FIAT has accomplished for our region.” 

For more information about the Florida Institute for the Advancement of Teaching, contact Glenn R. Thomas at 561-297-0061 or at ,

- FAU -

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Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges:  College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Business, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit

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