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To better prepare teachers to work in rapidly changing educational environments with rising performance standards, the School of Education is redesigning its teacher-preparation program so students can obtain both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education in about five years.

As the school launches the revised program, which is subject to approvals at the University level, the last cohort of students will enter the current bachelor’s programs in middle grades education, elementary education and early childhood and family studies in fall 2015.

“These changes are designed to better address North Carolina’s greatest needs in teacher preparation while also taking best advantage of our school’s strengths,” said Dean Bill McDiarmid. “A combined bachelor’s and master’s model will allow us to provide deeper content preparation, more rigorous instruction in teaching and more extensive classroom practice for teacher candidates.”

A combined bachelor’s/master’s program also addresses increasing pressure on educators to demonstrate their effectiveness, he said.

“Nationwide, schools of education are facing increasing pressure to provide evidence of their effectiveness as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation has adopted significantly more rigorous standards for the preparation of teacher candidates,” McDiarmid said. “This new model will help us better prepare our students for an environment in which teachers are being more extensively scrutinized, and in which we are evaluated on how well we prepare educators.”

Under the proposed model, students who wish to pursue licensure to teach can earn a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field and a master of arts in teaching in approximately five years. Individuals will also be able to apply directly to the new MAT program.

The program is expected to offer licensure preparation in elementary education, middle grades education and secondary education (in mathematics, science, social studies or language arts) as well as in K-12 foreign language. With additional coursework, program participants also will have the opportunity to add on specialization in pre-K, special education or English as a second language.

First-year students entering Carolina this fall would be the first to have the opportunity to apply to the new program. School of Education students in current undergraduate programs, and students who apply and are admitted to enter these programs by fall 2015, would be able to complete the bachelor’s programs as they now exist.

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By Mike Hobbs, School of Education

Published June 26, 2014.