UTRU’s blog this week is written by Kathleen Hayes to kick off UTRU’s research and evaluation work. As UTRU and teacher residency programs continue to raise the bar for teacher preparation, specifically for teachers preparing to serve high-needs schools in high-needs areas, and as federal and state education policymakers increasingly look to effective, clinical-based teacher preparation models as central to revising and strengthening teacher preparation, UTRU is launching its Research and Evaluation (R&E) department to strengthen the UTRU network and teacher preparation writ large. R&E will act as the backbone of UTRU’s Strategic Consulting, Next Generation Network and Policy and Advocacy practices, ensuring that all UTRU activities are based on research, data and proven outcomes. Additionally, UTRU is committed to the dissemination of best practices and lessons learned to influence new and existing residencies, as well as teacher preparation practices writ large, thereby increasing student achievement. UTRU’s R&E will focus on four key areas: research, dissemination of research findings and innovations; financial modeling; and program assessments. You can read more about R&E’s current projects here. On a personal note, as a former K-12 educator, I know that rigorous recruitment and selection of teacher candidates and effective, clinical-based teacher preparation are essential to ensuring that all students have access to effective teachers. So I am thrilled to be heading up this new line of work for UTRU. I look forward to getting to know our network partners and external stakeholders and to harnessing your individual and collective wisdom as this work unfolds. Please feel free to contact me at any time, firstname.lastname@example.org.