SOE News

School of Education revamping teacher preparation program

To provide strengthened preparation of teachers to work in rapidly changing educational environments with rising performance standards, the School of Education is redesigning its teacher-preparation program to enable students to obtain a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in education in approximately five years.

As the School launches the revised program, which is subject to approvals at the University level, the last cohort of students will enter the School’s current bachelor’s programs in middle grades education, elementary education and early childhood and family studies in fall 2015.

“These changes are designed to better address the greatest needs in teacher preparation while also taking best advantage of the School of Education’s strengths,” said Bill McDiarmid, dean of the School. “The state’s greatest needs are for highly effective teachers in preschool education, middle grades education, math, science, English as a Second Language, literacy and special education. Our new model will enable us to focus more intently in these areas.”

McDiarmid added: “A combined bachelor’s/master’s model will allow us to provide deeper content preparation, more rigorous instruction in teaching and more extensive classroom practice for teacher candidates.”

A combined bachelor’s/master’s program also addresses increasing pressure on educators to demonstrate evidence of their effectiveness, he said.

“Nationwide, schools of education are facing increasing pressure to provide evidence of their effectiveness as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation has adopted significantly more rigorous standards for the preparation of teacher candidates,” he said. “This new model will help us better prepare our students for an environment in which teachers are being more extensively scrutinized, and in which we are evaluated on how well we prepare educators.”

The new M.A.T. model will also provide more opportunity to infuse the School’s teacher-preparation efforts with understandings of best practices developed by educational research and new standards, and to deepen the programs’ continuous improvement efforts, McDiarmid said.

Under the new model, students who wish to pursue licensure to teach can earn a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field and a Master of Arts in Teaching in approximately five years. Individuals will also be able to apply directly to the new MAT program.

The program is expected to offer licensure preparation in elementary education, middle grades education and secondary education (in mathematics, science, social studies or language arts) as well as in K-12 foreign language. In addition, with additional coursework, program participants will have the opportunity to add on specialization in Pre-K, special education, or English as a Second Language.

First-year students entering Carolina this fall would be the first to have the opportunity to apply to the innovative new program.

School of Education students in current undergraduate programs, and students who apply and are admitted to enter these programs by fall 2015, would be able to complete the bachelor’s programs as they now exist.

Applications for those interested in the master’s degree only option are expected to be open in spring 2017 with complete MAT curriculum expected to be available beginning in summer 2017.

The School will continue to offer, with the College of Arts & Sciences, the UNC-BEST program, a baccalaureate program for math and science majors, as well as a bachelor of music program in music education. Undergraduate students in these programs will continue to earn a teaching license in conjunction with their B.A or B.S degrees.

The School also will continue and expand its popular minor in education.