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Innovative Programs Aimed at Attracting Students to the Teaching Profession

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Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education is developing innovative programs and strategies to boost teacher recruitment, remove barriers to teacher credential programs and diversify the teaching force.

“While CSUF is a leader in the state in preparing teachers for transitional kindergarten to 12th-grade classrooms, more needs to be done to recruit students of color to become teachers to mirror the underrepresented student population in today’s schools,” said Dean Lisa Kirtman.

Through the college’s recruitment efforts, the number of underrepresented students enrolled in CSUF’s teacher preparation programs has increased from 31 percent in 2014 to 39 percent in 2017, Kirtman noted.

Kirtman recently gave a presentation about CSUF’s teacher preparation programs to state legislative stakeholders in Sacramento as part of a California State University informational briefing on teacher education in the CSU. The CSU is the largest producer of teacher candidates and leads the nation in preparing STEM teachers.

“We want to get the word out about what it means to be a teacher, and how it is a rewarding profession,” Kirtman said.

Steps CSUF is taking include recruiting African-American and Latino men into the teaching profession through a unique program that offers students use of a laptop, advisement, exam and application waivers, workshops on teaching and student success, and access to teacher mentors. The first cohort in 2016 attracted 12 students, with 30 students in the second cohort. Today, 83 percent of the students are on track to become teachers, Kirtman said.

The college’s Center for Careers in Teaching also has embarked on an “intentional recruitment” strategy, targeting undergraduates who are considering entering the education field, as well as those who may not have considered the teaching profession. Through this initiative, more than 800 undergraduates interested in becoming teachers received one-on-one advisement in 2016-17.

Earlier this year, a new program called Titan Future Teachers was launched as a “pre-education” pathway for undergraduates, with the focus on recruiting more underrepresented students. Of the 190 students in the pathway so far, 71 percent are Latino. An Aug. 9 kickoff event is open to students interested in pursuing careers in education.

“We want to get the word out about what it means to be a teacher, and how it is a rewarding profession.” Dean Lisa Kirtman

In partnership with Anaheim Union High School District, a new Titan Teacher Summer Academy on June 12 targets incoming freshmen interested in a teaching career. The program’s goal is to get students on an academic pathway early so they are ready to seamlessly enter the post-baccalaureate teaching credential program after earning their bachelor’s degree, Kirtman said. The college plans to partner with other local school districts in the future.

The university’s Orange County Teacher Pathway Partnership program, led by Daniel S. Choi, associate professor of educational leadership, provides unique work-based, classroom-level teaching experiences for local high school, community college and CSUF undergraduate students so that they may be inspired to pursue a career in STEM Education. The state Department of Education-funded program has served more than 500 students, as well as hosts a Summer STEM Institute to promote teaching science, math and technology, Kirtman continued.

Additionally, the college is offering two new teacher preparation pathways, with one beginning this month, to bolster the university’s teacher preparation programs and help ease California’s teaching shortage:

  • An 18-month combined program for students to earn a master’s degree in education-secondary education and single subject credential begins this week. The program enables a cohort of students who are passionate about culturally and linguistically sustaining teaching to engage in a rigorous and streamlined pathway program, said Alison G. Dover, assistant professor of secondary education and the program’s coordinator. Students learn about culturally responsive instruction, educational equity and social justice. Twenty students are enrolled, with teacher candidates studying teaching credentials in English, foundation level mathematics, science, social studies and world languages.

  • CSUF received nearly $500,000 in grant funding to develop a new four-year “Integrated Teacher Preparation Program” to prepare special education teachers — among the critical areas of need for teachers in California. The CSU received an Integrated Program Grant from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to develop four-year teacher preparation programs at campuses systemwide. In the CSUF program, which begins in fall 2019, students earn a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development and complete the credential program to teach children with mild to severe disabilities or early childhood special education — within four years. The program will include freshmen and community college transfer students. Special education professors Barbara Glaeser, Janice Myck-Wayne and Melinda Pierson are leading this effort, with child and adolescent studies faculty members Kate Bono and Sharon Seidman, and Aimee Nelson of the Center for Careers in Teaching.