Pine Belt school superintendents cope with teacher shortage
Ellen Ciurczak/Hattiesburg American
William Carey University’s School of Education has reached a record high enrollment for the third consecutive year. The fall 2017 enrollment of 1,325 exceeds last fall’s record of 1,319 students.
“With teacher education numbers down across the nation, we feel honored to have an increase for the fourth consecutive year and also our third record enrollment in a row,” said Ben Burnett, dean of the School of Education. “Our main goal is still to increase the undergraduate program, but we are proud of how our graduate program, particularly our online program, continues to grow.”
During the past year, the School of Education added a cohort for the dyslexia therapy program at the Tradition campus and a doctorate in educational leadership. The physical education program reached a record enrollment this year.
Burnett attributes the growth to the school working to meet the needs of educators throughout the state and the addition of online classes, which makes it easier for professionals to pursue advanced degrees.
The School of Education’s online programs have received recognition from several ranking organizations. Best Colleges ranked the online in master’s in elementary education as No. 5, and Best Master’s Degrees ranked it as the No. 14 most affordable in the nation. U.S. News and World Report ranked Carey as having the No. 29 best online graduate-level education program in the country.
“The School of Education faculty is made up of teachers who have all worked in the K-12 system before coming to higher education,” he said. “We all want to do all we can to support our school districts in this state, and one way we can do that is to continue to prepare teachers to be successful in the classroom.”
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WCU President Tommy King added, “During this time when the teacher shortage is reaching an alarming level, the School of Education is working overtime to address this matter, and the dedicated leadership and faculty are reaching out to fill the void.”
The School of Education also serves as the state headquarters for the Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools, which gives the faculty the opportunity to work with school districts across the state toward a common goal of improving education in Mississippi.
William Carey University continues to rebuild six months after the Jan. 21 tornado hit their campus.
Susan Broadbridge/Hattiesburg American
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