Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NSU, CASC Partner to Address Oklahoma's Teacher Shortage

A program to help teachers get their bachelor's degrees has been announced by Northeastern State University (NSU) in Tahlequah and Carl Albert State College (CASC) in Sallisaw and Poteau. Beginning in the fall of 2015 NSU will begin offering potential teachers wishing to complete a bachelor's degree in elementary education or special education the opportunity to complete their degrees at the campuses of CASC in either a full-time or part-time format.

An information session of the program was to be held at the CASC Sallisaw campus Monday but was cancelled due to the weather. The meeting will be rescheduled at a later date.

Plans for the partnership began in the summer of 2014 after NSU's Transfers & Parent Programs coordinator brought to the education department's attention that there was a strong need for teachers in the Sallisaw and Poteau areas. Although the idea was discussed several years ago, the education department now believes that the technology, through the use of Blackboard Collaborate, and the willingness of dedicated faculty members, will allow for the program to run successfully.

"It is not a secret that our state and nation is currently challenged by a teacher shortage," Dr. Lisa Tritschler, NSU Curriculum and Instruction Department chair, said. "Special Education and Elementary Education are both critical shortage areas. The request was first centralized on the Elementary Education program. However, considering our Special Education program embeds Elementary Education courses to provide more content for our teacher candidates to become highly qualified in both Special Education and Elementary Education, we knew it would be feasible to provide both programs."

Individuals eligible for the degree program will have obtained an associate degree in pre-elementary from CASC, and courses will be provided through online delivery, Blackboard Collaborate, and/or blended face-to-face classes from an NSU professor traveling to a CASC campus. Students will be required to attend the on-campus intern seminars, and placement and orientation days on either the Tahlequah or the Broken Arrow campus. However, throughout the entirety of the degree, this will add up to around 14 trips to an NSU campus. Information regarding which courses to enroll in will occur at another meeting toward the latter portion of the spring semester. Dates, time, and location for that meeting will be communicated at a later time.

"We realize not every student is able to commute to an NSU campus or to move to Tahlequah, Muskogee or Broken Arrow to complete their degree. This partnership with Carl Albert State College will limit the number of trips required for students, and positive responses to these offerings have been expressed by area superintendents," Suzzane Myers, Coordinator of NSU's Transfer Programs said.

For more information regarding these academic programs, please call Dr. Tritschler at 918-444-3710 or email her at tritschl@nsuok.edu or Suzanne Myers 918-444-2137 or myers@nsuok.edu.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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