Faster route to education degree
By Sharon Gray
On May 9, 80 students started the new fast-track delivery bachelor of education (primary/elementary) degree program. The program is offered at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook and the St. John’s campus, with 40 students accepted at each site.
Dr. Alice Collins, dean of Education, said the fast-track delivery was developed in response to a number of identified needs. Many students who apply to the B.Ed. (primary/elementary) program are already fairly well along in their academic programs, but under the regular program it can take up to three years more years to earn the education degree. The fast-track delivery enables students with at least 78 credits to complete the program in four consecutive semesters. “The group starting on May 9 will finish in August 2006, whereas if they had started the regular program in September 2005 it could take them up to three years to finish.”
Another factor in developing the new fast-track delivery is better utilization of resources. “Applications to the Faculty of Education have really increased over the last few years and we’ve had to put a cap on the number of students we could take into each of our programs because of limited faculty resources,” explained Dr. Collins. Usually 160 students are accepted into the primary/elementary education program, representing less than half of those who apply.
By starting the fast-track delivery program at a different time of year, it allows faculty to teach in the summer if they choose as well as tapping into the pool of available sessional instructors. “And most importantly, by expanding the program to the west coast at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, we are able to work closely with the college and to access excellent instructors on the west coast as well as schools for interships,” said Dr. Collins. “And by admitting students at different times of the year it means the fast-track students in the St. John’s area will be doing their internships at different times than those in the regular program and that means better use of resources.”
Because the fast-track delivery program was not approved by Senate before the February 2005 application deadline, students could not apply for it this year, but were selected from the existing pool of applicants to the regular primary/elementary education program. “We went through all the applications, saw who was eligible and over a two-day period wrote or phoned them to tell them about the new delivery of the program,” said Dr. Collins. “I was involved with some of the phoning and all the students I talked to chose the fast-track option.”
Dr. Collins said the Faculty of Education views its expansion of the B.Ed to Grenfell and the implementation of the fast-track program as fulfilling Memorial’s mission of being responsive to the needs of the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It’s a creative way to increase excellent educational opportunities for Memorial students and it has increased the partnership between the Faculty of Education, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and the Western School District.”