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New Undergraduate Education Degrees to Address Statewide Teacher Shortages

By Megan Shearin

In accord with the 2017 Governor's Directive to meet the demands of teacher shortages and produce highly qualified teachers in Virginia, Old Dominion University is now offering new undergraduate degrees in education.

The four new bachelor's of science degree programs in early childhood education, elementary education, special education, and career and technical education with concentrations in technology education and marketing education are housed in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies and will launch fall 2019.

The shift will allow students from the early childhood education and elementary education programs to graduate with eligibility for teacher licensure in four years. Prior to the adoption of these new programs, students pursuing degrees in early childhood and elementary education had to earn an undergraduate degree from the Batten College of Arts & Letters in interdisciplinary studies and complete a fifth-year master's to earn teacher licensure from the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies.

The degrees in special education and career and technical education will remain four-year degrees, but will be specific to their endorsement areas. Before, those pursuing special education obtained a degree in interdisciplinary studies and those pursuing technology or marketing education obtained a degree in occupational and technical studies. Students will now pursue a bachelor's of science in special education or a bachelor's of science in career and technical education with a concentration in either technology education or marketing education. With the new change, all teacher licensure programs at Old Dominion will be offered in four years.

"The new programs will serve schools by educating more teachers and those future teachers will all be graduating with less student debt," said Jane S. Bray, dean of the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies.

Associate dean for undergraduate education Tammi Dice led a team of faculty from the Darden College on new program design and curriculum. The curriculum for each of the degree programs has been designed to meet the academic requirements for licensure as specified by the Virginia Department of Education standards. The degree also incorporates accreditation requirements set forth by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

"These programs are designed to provide the necessary pedagogy for current and future students entering the teaching profession, while also providing rich and rigorous field experiences," said Dice.

As part of the new curriculum, students will complete general education courses and share a core of professional education classes. Students will also complete extensive field work and a capstone teaching experience, which will provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge of teaching under supervision in the school setting.

For more information on the new degree programs, as well as other teacher education degrees offered at Old Dominion, visit http://www.odu.edu/educatorprep.

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