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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Teaching majors take cuts

    In the face of budget cuts, the UA College of Education has proposed cutting two bachelor’s degrees and hopes to re-route students to a master’s degree program.

    The bachelor of arts in secondary education and the bachelor of science in physical education have been put up for elimination, said Bruce Johnson, associate professor of teaching and teaching education.

    A one-year masters program, “”Teach Arizona,”” will be the new option recommended to students interested in secondary education after next fall, Johnson said.

    Under the new plan, an undergraduate would need to receive their degree in a core content area, such as English, history or a foreign language, Johnson said. Upon completion, students would have the opportunity to enroll in the Teach Arizona masters program.

    “”Teach Arizona is a one-year field-based program, following undergraduate study, that leads to both a master’s degree in addition to a teaching certification,”” Johnson said.

    Teach Arizona should essentially re-direct students to a more efficient undergrad and graduate program, Johnson said.

    “”In a sense, this is all a restructure,”” Johnson said. “”It will save us money and make us a stronger program.””

    Associate Dean of Education J. Robert Hendricks said the restructure should inspire people to become the most knowledgeable in their field and end with a masters degree in the field of education.

    Johnson said the department is proposing the restructure in order to give students different and more beneficial options to allow them to pursue a degree in secondary education.

    Hendricks said the one-year masters program is unique because it is split between student teaching and formal classes.

    “”We are essentially changing the way people can become secondary teachers,”” Johnson said. “”Programs like these are very common around the U.S.””

    “”(The provost’s office) gave some guidelines that we had to collapse our numbers of departments, specifically the ones that were under-enrolled,”” said Ann Parker, department of education’s director of admission. “”In addition, we were given the charge of reducing our budget, looking at our programs and figuring out the ones we had to get rid of because of the whole transformation.””

    As proposed, UA students currently enrolled in the secondary education program would be able to continue with their degree as planned, Johnson said. Sophomores will be admitted this semester to begin the program in the fall, with expected graduation in spring 2011.

    Johnson said the physical education degree is being cut to save money because there is little demand for it.

    “”We found that after researching local schools and statistics, there was not a real critical need for physical education teachers at this time,”” Johnson said.

    Johnson said students currently admitted into the physical education teaching program will continue as planned, but the major will be cut from the department in the fall.

    “”Our last group of applicants had a deadline of Feb. 13 to be admitted into the physical education program for fall ’09,”” Johnson said.

    Ashley Williams, a secondary education junior, said she was not familiar with the new options, but was informed of the change in a recent appointment with her advisor.

    “”I’m looking forward to finishing the program strong while they’re still phasing students through,”” Williams said. “”Change will be difficult at first, but once everyone becomes accustomed to it, over time it will provide students with the opportunity to not only get their degree in whatever they’ve studied but their master’s as well.””

    Although the state of Arizona does not currently require a master’s degree for someone to be qualified to teach, it chould lead to higher salaries and an upper-hand in the job market, Johnson said. “”If a student achieves a masters degree, they will also start out with a stronger preparation.””

    “”We are looking at the efficiency of the program,”” Hendricks said. “”Of the programs we have in our college, we analyzed how we would afford to invest large faculty expenditures in a program that’s generating very few students.””

    Last year, for example, the UA graduated less than a dozen students in the Spanish secondary education program, he said.

    As a former superintendent of Flowing Wells, Hendricks said his goal is to provide Tucson middle and high schools with knowledgeable teachers in fields of English, foreign language and history that come right out of the UA.

    “”In the Teach Arizona program, we have triple the amount of English applicants than the entire secondary education program,”” Hendricks said.

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