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Future teachers to receive degree in education

by Margaret Stewart - Managing Editor
Wed, Dec 4th 2019 03:30 pm
The education department is planning to transform from a certification to a major, opening new doors for students looking to pursue a career in teaching. Photo Credit: Marios Argitis
The education department is planning to transform from a certification to a major, opening new doors for students looking to pursue a career in teaching. Photo Credit: Marios Argitis

The College at Brockport was founded in 1835 and was primarily used to train future teachers. While the college has widely expanded in the last 184 years, the education department is expecting a few more changes in the near future. 

The education department is about to move from a certification to a major program which will offer more support to its students. At least that was the hope of Brockport education student Rhian O’Dell when she heard about the upcoming changes.

“As it is right now, since education isn’t a major, you need to have a separate major,” O’Dell said. “So it’s pretty much like you’re a double major but technically not since it’s a program.”

While this means the students are doing the work of a double major without the recognition on their degree, it also creates confusion with the different concentrations the certificate program currently offers in adolescent and childhood education along with the way advising works.

“If you’re in the childhood program, you have to major in something non-education related, like English, history, etc., even though you’ll be teaching younger kids every content,” O’Dell said. “This can be frustrating for childhood teachers because they want to focus on teaching kids but have to put half of their energy into a major they don’t even want but is required.”

This can be particularly difficult as any college student knows it is hard to stay focused and learn content they’re not interested in to begin with. The hope is that the switch to a major program will help organize and clarify any confusion with having two content areas. 

“Another issue when education is a program is that your content advisor, who is your main advisor because it is your major, doesn’t usually know a lot about the education requirements,” O’Dell said. “It’s no ones fault, but because it [education] isn’t a major it’s difficult sometimes to have someone know and help you with your plan of study, so having it as a major might help people better be advised and understand what they need to graduate.”

Another student working to become a future teacher is Ahnika Stowell. Stowell is a transfer from Monroe Community College and has been focusing on her major in English in addition to becoming certified in adolescent education.

“I think that if they had implemented this earlier my whole process would have gone a lot smoother,” Stowell said. “I had to do an extra year because of complications with taking wrong classes and issues with the program.”

O’Dell says Stowell’s problems with taking the wrong classes, which have extended her time at the college, is not a new nor a unique issue as it has happened to her as well.

“The advisement and degree audit issue has impacted me multiple times,” O’Dell said. “The English advisor knows what they’re doing but, like I said, it’s not their job to know the ins and outs of the education program so it just makes it more difficult to understand what I need to do. I have it down now, but as a freshman/sophomore I remember really struggling at times knowing what needed to be done especially since there’s one education advisor and we went through three in four years.”

As the education program is what Brockport has historically been known for, Vice President for University Relations David Mihalyov explains the goal is to shift the program in order to “provide them [students with] the skills they need.”

“The goal is to attract more students and make it easier for them to graduate,” Mihalyov said.

Despite Brockport having a certification program upon her arrival, O’Dell explains the draw of the program is with the unique opportunity to become dual certified in her content area, English, as well as special education.

“It makes you more marketable as a teacher and I loved the idea of being able to run an inclusive classroom,” O’Dell said. “The ability to be certified in both definitely sold me on Brockport.”

Shifting the program from a certification to a major will not only provide the students with the recognition for the countless hours of work they have completed but will also pave an easier path for all future teachers to come.

 

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Taken by Vinny Croce:
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