PLNU’s School of Education will soon offer a program that allows undergrads to get a California teaching credential along with their BA or BS degree. Dr. Conni Campbell designed this new four-year program that will begin in the fall of 2018.
“The four-year blended program is worthwhile for students who want to be certified as a teacher in the most timely and financially efficient way,” said Campbell via email.
Students in the program will get a credential that will allow them to teach in the field of their degree. These will mainly subject areas commonly taught in middle and high schools, Campbell said. The credential also gives students the skills to teach in an elementary school classroom.
Departments on campus that will be part of the program so far are History, Spanish, English, Biology, Music, Art, and Kinesiology.
History professor Dr. Rick Kennedy was involved in integrating the program with the history department.
“The goal is for students to be able to receive their BA in History along with their Social Science Teaching Credential for jobs teaching at the junior high and high school level,” said Kennedy. “Our department is involved because we think it is a good opportunity for students who want to be teachers.”
David Carlson, Chair of the Art and Design Department, said that although they have offered an art education major for a long time, this new program “will provide a shorter streamlined option for completing both the Bachelor’s degree and the teaching credential.”
“It is exciting that the Department of Art & Design is able to partner with the School of Education and offer this smart programming feature that not all universities are able to offer,” said Carlson.
Students will incorporate the 33 units needed to obtain the teaching credential into their degree requirements over a four-year period. Campbell recommends that students declare they want to be in this program their first semester of freshman year to “utilize each semester’s unit capacity and some summer semesters.”
The teaching credential courses will be offered on the main campus and on the Mission Valley campus in the evenings, said Campbell. The courses also require field hours at assigned school locations which happen during the student’s senior spring semester. Students will teach in a classroom five days a week alongside a “veteran teacher.”
The California teaching credential includes the Multiple Subjects credential, Single Subject credential and Education Specialist credential for teaching students with special needs. One benefit of having a California credential, according to Campbell, is that “many times there are only few requirements other states ask candidates to fulfill when coming from California.”
Funding for the program came out of a $250,000 grant from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to work with undergraduate faculty to design online undergraduate courses for the program, according to Dr. Deb Erickson, Dean of the School of Education.