Baldwin Wallace University’s Education Department will introduce a Master of Arts in Education in Science Teaching to begin in May of 2018.
This intense and extensive program is the first of its kind, allowing students with a bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry, or professionals with a background in science, to become an Ohio-licensed high school teacher in only 14 months.
The program itself is designed for the success of the individual. Students who begin the program in May will take classes during the summer semester and will be ready for placement in a classroom by Aug. 2018. Those who complete the program will be ready for employment by Aug. 2019.
BW School of Education works with school districts across Northeast Ohio to match students with teachers who need the assistance in the classroom. Students will complete a year-long mentoring program in the district that they are placed in. Any school district that participates in this program agrees to extend an interview opportunity to any graduate of the program if they have an opening for a science position in their schools.
Dr. Karen Kaye, dean of the BW School of Education, explains that the program is also the cheapest of its kind.
“It is very reasonably priced. The entire program is under $20,000; that’s extremely affordable. Probably less than most state schools,” explains Kaye.
This $20,000 price tag includes all academic costs like books, enrollment fees into professional societies, background checks, and tuition.
Despite the pros of this program, not all spots have been filled. According to Dr. Kaye, there is huge shortage in individuals who want to teach science. This is not just statewide but also countrywide.
“You could probably go anywhere in America and get a career teaching science. It’s very portable,” said Kaye.
While that sounds promising for individuals who want to go into teaching science, its proven to be an issue for schools all around the country. One reason this may be is that currently, schools push students to have a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but not necessarily an education career. Most educators are pushing careers in industry, such as engineering or programming, not to become a teacher.
“Teaching STEM is not an obvious path when compared to something like engineering”, says Kaye.
This may be a direct result of the career’s notoriously low salary, especially when compared to careers such as engineering and programming. During the recession in 2008, the government cut funding to state schools and educator’s salaries have not recovered yet.
“Teaching is not about moneymaking,” says Dr. Barbara Sposet, the Middle Childhood Education Department’s only full-time teacher. “It is about making a difference in the lives of kids.”
Sposet believes individuals who go into teaching are not going into it for the pay, it is just a matter of finding those individuals and selling them on a career in teaching.
Throughout her time at Baldwin Wallace, she has seen a decline in enrollment across the board; however, this is greatly affecting the education department. Dr. Sposet believes this program is a good start to alleviating this decline in enrollment, but they still have a lot of work to do in the department to boost these numbers.
Currently, more individuals that are not undergraduates from BW have applied for the program.
“This is surprising,” says Kaye about the enrollment demographic, “but that shows a need.”
Marketing continues to be utilized by the department to fill the remaining spots, that unless filled, will be open until the first day of summer semester classes.