July 8, 2010
Cowley College signs teacher education agreement with FHSU
Prospective elementary and early childhood education students at Cowley
College will be able to transfer to Fort Hays State University to complete
their education and prepare to seek licensure in Kansas after representatives
from the two schools signed what are known as 2-plus-2 agreements on
Memoranda of understanding like those signed at Cowley College puts in place a partnership that enables degree-seeking students in the areas of elementary and early childhood education to transfer from the community college to the university in a seamless manner, said Dr. Germaine Taggart, chair of the Department of Teacher Education at FHSU.
According to Julie Rhoads, director of education and service learning at Cowley College, this partnership will provide Cowley students with a couple of options when considering specific areas of Elementary Education.
“I am excited about this new program and see it as a great opportunity for both schools,” Rhoads said. “Because Cowley College has experienced a significant increase in online enrollment over the past couple of years, it only make sense to transition Cowley students into a four year school which has a successful history in online instruction. Cowley College students, regardless of where they are located, can complete a four year degree in Elementary Education online.”
The agreements lay out exactly what courses students need to graduate with a bachelor's degree. A Cowley College student working toward an associate degree knows in advance what classes are needed both at Cowley and at FHSU to end up with a bachelor's degree. The agreement also lays out points of contact between students and faculty advisors at both Cowley and FHSU.
Pam Demaree, who graduated from Cowley College in May, is enrolled in the 2-plus-2 education degree agreement, and will attend Fort Hays State University in the fall.
Demaree, who first attended Cowley College in 1995 prior to starting a family, decided to return to school in the hopes of becoming a teacher. Once she heard of the 2-plus-2 education degree agreement between Cowley and FHSU, she knew that was the program for her.
“I like the idea of being able to take classes online 100 percent and finish my degree from the comforts of home,” Demaree said. “The way the 2-plus-2 is laid out is incredible! You can see exactly what you need to do over the next four years even though you will be doing it at two different places.”
In this case, the degree programs are elementary education with a minor in special education and early childhood unified. Both are offered online, face-to-face or in combination. Both Cowley and FHSU enables prospective teachers to take coursework in a manner that suits their busy lives and provides a way for them to engage in field experience in schools that are close to their residences. The use of technology by the students and faculty has opened new avenues for obtaining a teaching degree.
“Cowley College and Fort Hays will work with school districts to implement required field experiences and student teaching internships; however having course work available online provides students with a greater opportunity to meet other demands such as work and family,” Rhoads said.
Rhoads believes elementary and early childhood education majors will continue to be in demand in the job market.
“While the field of education faces challenges, it is a field where high demands will exist as those currently working reach retirement age,” Rhoads said. “In addition, students who study areas of specific focus, like early childhood education and special needs, will be sought after.”
For more information on the 2-plus-2 partnership with Fort Hays State University, contact Julie Rhoads at 620-441-5316.
“I feel Julie (Rhoads) and the education program here at Cowley gave me a great start,” Demaree said.
Those pictured are, seated, from left, Dennis King, director of the virtual college and learning technologies at FHSU, and Dr. Patrick J. McAtee, president of Cowley College. And back row, from left, Pam Demaree, Julie Rhoads, director of education and service learning at Cowley College, Dr. Germaine Taggart, chair of the Department of Teacher Education at FHSU, and Slade Griffiths, vice president of academic affairs at Cowley College.