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Teacher recruitment spans campuses, expands downtown

November 03, 2008

ASU’s commitment to help meet the critical need for talented, effective teachers in school districts across the Valley and Arizona continues to grow.

Four of ASU’s education advising staff members have assumed new universitywide duties to advise and recruit students into teacher preparation programs at all four campuses, with an emphasis on increasing awareness about the growing offerings at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

“The goal is to instill the mind-set across ASU that all majors on all campuses can lead to a teaching career,” says Elizabeth D. Capaldi, ASU's executive vice president and provost. “Not only can undergraduate students pursue their passion for a field like biology, math, nursing, English or engineering while preparing to become certified teachers, but people with a bachelor’s degree who want to enter the teaching field can choose from several high-quality, innovative ASU programs to earn their certification.”

To provide more options for prospective teachers, ASU’s education program offerings downtown are expanding rapidly.

“By Fall 2009, undergraduate students will be able to pursue a bachelor’s degree in special education, early childhood, elementary, or secondary education through the Downtown Phoenix campus,” says Irma Arboleda, manager of the newly formed University Teacher Preparation advising staff. Additional members of the team are Dawna Holiday, Jennifer Fletcher and Alyson Hanson, all of whom are experienced ASU academic success specialists.

“This initiative provides a unique opportunity to collaborate across colleges and departments to raise awareness about the wide range of education programs and opportunities available to students,” Arboleda says.

Downtown students seeking an elementary education degree can take advantage of accelerated preparation programs offered in partnership with the Madison, Paradise Valley and Roosevelt School Districts. Once students complete their general studies and introductory education course requirements, they can complete their undergraduate teacher preparation requirements in 12 to 18 months through an intensive program that immerses them in elementary and middle school settings.

“These programs have a documented track record of producing graduates who are extremely well-prepared to step into a classroom and be successful teachers from the first day,” says Heather Carter, director of Education Downtown and a faculty member in the College of Teacher Education and Leadership (CTEL). “The Madison, Paradise Valley and Roosevelt programs have the additional benefit of providing graduates with a full English as a Second Language endorsement along with teacher certification.”

For undergraduates seeking early childhood certification, an Education Downtown program featuring classes on Fridays and Saturdays kicks off next fall. “We’re placing a strong emphasis on flexible course offerings downtown, to make programs available at times that are not necessarily offered elsewhere,” Carter says.

Fall 2009 also marks the start date for downtown bachelor’s degree programs in special education and secondary education. Both programs will feature evening and web-enhanced classes in addition to field experience placements in urban school districts.

“Field experience is vital to the successful preparation of any education student,” says Mari Koerner, dean of CTEL. “There is simply no substitute for time spent in a K-12 classroom, interacting with children and learning from an experienced mentor teacher. At ASU we work very hard to make field experience as meaningful as possible for our students and to maintain excellent working relationships with school districts across the Valley.”

That emphasis on the importance of classroom experience also is a hallmark of ASU teacher preparation programs for individuals who already possess a bachelor’s degree. The Downtown Phoenix campus is the setting for the Induction, Master’s and Certification (InMAC) graduate programs in which Teach For America and Phoenix Teaching Fellows participants enroll. Both organizations recruit highly motivated recent college graduates to teach on an intern certificate in high-needs schools while pursuing their master’s degrees. The InMAC program emphasizes mentorship and professional support for these new teachers.

Starting next fall, CTEL will bring its MAC (Master’s and Arizona Certification) program for college graduates pursuing secondary education certification to the Downtown Phoenix campus. This 15-month program will combine field experience in urban schools with evening class offerings.

“Teaching is a demanding profession, but it’s also one of the most rewarding career paths a person can choose to follow,” Koerner says. “From undecided freshmen to working professionals looking to switch to a career that makes a difference in the lives of children on a daily basis, we want to help everyone with an interest in becoming a teacher to achieve that goal.”

Additionally, plans are under way to bring selected CTEL master’s degree offerings for working teachers downtown, while continuing to offer these programs on the West campus. The master’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in reading is set to debut in Fall 2009, while the master’s in educational administration and supervision will be added in Spring 2010.

University Teacher Preparation team members are now offering information sessions regarding the various Downtown campus education offerings that are available both downtown and on the Tempe campus. For details, call (602) 496-2069 or email