Letter from the chair
Dear Potential Students, Alumni, and Stakeholders,
Welcome to our first newsletter for our new department of Teacher Education and Certification; our fledgling department is coming of age in uncertain times. First, we want to thank you for your great work in schools here in Missouri and across the nation. Our profession has never been challenged as we were this spring. Educators have responded with flexibility and innovation, including our professors and student teachers. In our department, we emphasize technology integration throughout the courses, so the pivot to online instruction was less painful than some. We all learned new tools that will make our teaching stronger in the future.
My first year as chair has been interesting, to say the least! I will continue to examine data such as our first year teacher survey to make our program even better. I am also committed to examining our curriculum to infuse more diverse resources and analyze the systemic racism present in our schools and community. This year one of my priorities was to use department funds to purchase diverse children’s literature that highlights the achievements of people of color and women in STEM fields, but we still have more work to do.
We continue to grow the program and have hired two new faculty. All of our faculty have extensive teaching experience, and our graduates are sought for jobs by principals. Our student group, S-MSTA, holds monthly meetings offering professional development and other opportunities to enhance the experience. We have over 100 students pursuing teacher education; our class sizes are small, and we have a full time staff advisor to keep everyone on track for graduation. We have graduates teaching all across the nation, from West Virginia to Utah to Ohio. Recently, we were featured as a story in the Rural Teacher Collaborative for our work supplying the teacher pipeline in south central Missouri.
I am deeply aware of the cost of higher education, and in our department, we recently audited our textbook selection to reduce cost. We also allow students to choose their internship or student teaching location, which can save a semester of room and board. We recognize that many of our students work in rural schools where they make a huge difference in the lives of children, while making much less money than a typical S&T graduate. In recognition of this, we have started the Rural Teacher Scholarship campaign to fund students who want to return to their communities as educators. Donations of any size can help pay for the many extra fees teacher education students encounter: background checks, testing, and transportation to field experiences among others. Any gift you can make is deeply appreciated by our students.
Finally, we are proud to introduce new middle school programs to help meet the teacher shortage in the region. These programs can be easily completed in four years and smoothly articulate with community college courses for those using A+ or other scholarships. If you know anyone considering changing careers or needing coursework to fulfill a temporary certificate, please have them contact me.
Beth Kania-Gosche, PhD
Professor and Chair of Teacher Education and Certification