SOE News

Students reinstate SNCAE, host N.C. Teacher of the Year

When senior Erin Burns and junior Kristin Hansen realized there was no organization on campus to promote collaboration between education students and undergraduates who are majoring in different disciplines but are interested in education, they decided to take action. Burns, a biology major and Teaching Fellow enrolled in UNC-BEST, and Hansen, an education major, reinstated the Student N.C. Association of Educators (SNCAE) this fall to bridge the gap between students involved with the School of Education and other UNC undergraduates interested in education.

SNCAE is the student branch of N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE), an association that advocates for its members (teachers) and for students, with the goal of enhancing public education and the education profession.

Burns hopes that the newly reactivated SNCAE will encourage more UNC students across different curricula to consider careers in education. The overall goal of organization is to facilitate the production of more teachers from North Carolina.

The organization plans to implement some community service projects this year, with a particular focus on assisting underserved schools in the area. Anticipated activities include volunteering at local schools and contributing to the Box Tops for Education program, a national program through which volunteers can earn cash for schools by clipping box tops and coupons from selected grocery products.

With the help of advisor Melissa Wheeler, assistant director of student affairs at the School of Education, SNCAE hosted the 2008-2009 N.C. Teacher of the Year, Cindi Rigsbee, on Sept 22. Burns said it was an honor to have such an important figure in education speak to the SNCAE members and that Rigsbee’s visit was inspiring to students of all career paths. 

Currently, SNCAE’s membership of 15 students is split between education majors and students thinking of pursuing education later in life. The group has already held two organizational meetings, both of which Burns said were successful. 

“I believe that education addresses many of the social problems in the United States and I love to promote it as a career. There are so many bright students at UNC, and if more teachers were recruited from here, North Carolina schools would be better,” said Burns.