Teacher Preparation Program Increases Enrollment, Aligns with Industry Need

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By Mike McKissack

Spring enrollment in College of DuPage’s Teacher Preparation program has increased 24 percent for the spring semester compared to the spring 2016 term.

According to April Zawlocki, Assistant Professor of Teacher Preparation at COD, the upturn in enrollment in the program is due to the College offering an educational experience comparable to that of a four-year school.

“In our program, students have the opportunity to participate in national organizations such as Student Education Association and Kappa Delta Pi, and have access to innovative instructors who are at the cutting edge of the field,” she said. “We have also established partnerships with local school districts to allow our students a “foot in the door” from the very beginning of their field experiences and we bring events to campus that no other community college does, such as a screening of Nova: School of the Future and Regional conferences through KDP.”

The Teacher Preparation program at College of DuPage is designed to meet the needs of students planning to teach in elementary, middle school, secondary or special education settings. Students who successfully complete an A.A. or A.S. degree program at COD can transfer to a state-approved teacher education program in which they complete the education requirements for Illinois teacher licensure. In addition, the College offers a Teaching Online Utilizing Technology (TOUT) certificate program which provides hands-on training for educators, managers, trainers and students who want to incorporate the latest technology into their curriculum, as well as a paraprofessional certificate program, designed to prepare individuals to take on the role of a teacher's assistant in a K-12 classroom.

According to Zawlocki, this increase in enrollment in COD’s Teacher Preparation program is particularly timely.

A report recently released by the Illinois Association of Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) titled “Illinois Educator Shortage Crisis” details problematic teacher shortages across the state. According to the report, the result of surveying 538 school districts in Illinois, 60 percent of the districts across the state reported difficulty with staffing positions. Sixteen percent of responding districts had to cancel classes due to a lack of teachers with appropriate qualifications and 76 percent reported that fewer qualified candidates were applying for positions. Forty-three percent reported that the candidates applying were worse than applicants from previous years.

“Teachers are in great demand and our students are ready to rise to the challenge,” said Assistant Professor of Education Shannon Brown. “With so many teachers retiring or leaving the field, there has never been a better time to enter the profession.

Click here for more information on the Teacher Preparation program at College of DuPage

College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 28,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants nine associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study. 

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