Plans to offer four-year degrees in elementary education at four Oklahoma community colleges will help increase the number of elementary school teachers in the state, authorities said.
Mid-America Christian University plans to broadcast courses this spring to rented classrooms at Western Oklahoma State University in Altus, Seminole State College, Redlands Community College in El Reno and Carl Albert State College in Poteau.
The school expects about a dozen students at each location. The program will allow students at the four community colleges to gain their degrees without traveling to a four-year campus.
“We are making higher education more accessible to more parts of the state,” university President John Fozard said.
“Our classes emphasize workplace and personal ethics,” he said. “Teachers play a vital role in educating and preparing the next generation for a lifetime of learning, and we are proud to equip these much-needed professionals.”
The program is aimed at students who have earned or are close to earning an associate’s degree.
Students will take courses via Mid-America Christian’s interactive educational television system, using faculty at the university’s campus in southwest Oklahoma City.
Television monitors and cameras in each classroom allow students real-time involvement in classroom discussions.
Annual tuition and fees at Mid-America Christian are about $11,950 a year, but the university offers a variety of public and private financial aid, Fozard said.
Redlands President Larry Devane said his campus has long wanted to provide teacher education. Devane was impressed with teacher certification pass rates of Mid-America Christian University students and the university’s reputation with distance learning.
“Students have told us this is one of their top interest areas,” Devane said. “It’s all about serving the students. And there’s a good chance it will enhance the pool of quality instructors in the local vicinity.”
Oklahoma will need more elementary school teachers in coming years, as school districts grow and many existing teachers are nearing retirement.
“We think working adults and other busy people in the community should have the best opportunity for education, and this is one avenue to that,” said Carl Albert spokesman Marcus Blair. “Not everyone can commute.”
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com