UAH College of Education well positioned to help address state's growing teacher shortage

Education class

UAH's College of Education has enjoyed a surge in enrollment since expanding from a single department last fall.

UAH

Alabama is one of many states coping with a growing teacher shortage, so the recent expansion of the College of Education at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) couldn't have come at a better time. What was once a single department within the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences now houses two academic departments of its own – Curriculum and Instruction, and Kinesiology – in addition to the Rise School, an outreach and service unit. "It's been an incredible first year," says Dr. Beth Quick, dean of the College of Education. "We've seen a notable jump in enrollment, which tells us the demand is there."

To continue to meet that demand, the College has been methodically increasing the number of degree programs it offers. Students in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction can earn a bachelor of arts in elementary education or a bachelor of science in secondary education. "We will also have a bachelor of science in early childhood and early childhood special education in the spring," says Dr. Quick, explaining that the latter will prepare students to work with all children, including those with developmental delays or disabilities, from birth to age eight.

Students in the Department of Kinesiology, meanwhile, can earn a bachelor of science in kinesiology with a concentration in either exercise science or physical education, both of which provide a strong foundation for students going into occupational therapy, physical therapy, or other health-related fields. "We've had enormous growth in that program especially," she says, adding that construction is currently underway on an exercise science lab that will give students a venue for practical experience. "Our goal was 10 to 15 students and we now have over 70."

As our capacity to offer more programs, more resources, and more opportunities continues to develop, so too will our ability to effectively address the growing need for teachers in our community, our region, and our nation.

Dr. Beth Quick
Dean, College of Education

At the graduate level, the College's master of education actually pre-dates its establishment, and this December will see the graduation of its first cohort of students. Among those, some have chosen to specialize in autism spectrum disorders – another first, says Dr. Quick. "While there are other autism-focused programs in Alabama," she explains, "UAH is the only one to offer a master of education in differentiated instruction with a concentration in autism." That program will be joined this spring by a master of arts in teaching, which is geared toward students who have already earned a bachelor's degree but who want to pursue a career as an educator.

Of course more programs – and more students – require more professors. So over the past few months, the College has added several new faculty members to ensure that all the new classes can be offered. These include Dr. Sarah Roller, Dr. Sandra Lampley, and Dr. Angela Williams, who will teach math, science, and elementary education, respectively, for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; and Dr. Shannon Mathis and Dr. Jeremy Elliot, who will teach exercise science and physical education, respectively, for the Department of Kinesiology. "We've made a huge investment in human resources," says Dr. Quick. "We've more than doubled in size over the last year in terms of faculty and staff."

As for the aspiring educators they will be teaching, Dr. Quick is confident about their long-term success as graduates of the College of Education. "Even before we became a College, we have never had a problem with our students securing employment – they are heavily recruited and highly sought – so I don't see that changing, " she says. "Moreover, as our capacity to offer more programs, more resources, and more opportunities continues to develop, so too will our ability to effectively address the growing need for teachers in our community, our region, and our nation."


Contact

College of Education
 256.824.6180
education@uah.edu

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