University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls Implement
Collaborative Teacher Education Programs

 MAILED:  July 15, 2004

EAU CLAIRE - Education students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls have new opportunities for teacher education, thanks to a collaborative program that utilizes the resources of the two UW System campuses.

The cooperative program makes it possible for UW-Eau Claire students in the early childhood special education program to earn pre-kindergarten through third grade certification endorsement through UW-River Falls and for students from UW-River Falls to earn their early childhood special education license through UW-Eau Claire.

Neither school offers both teacher education opportunities, said David Franks, UW-Eau Claire professor of special education.

"This collaboration opens up increased employment opportunities for teacher education students because increasing numbers of teaching situations require that teachers are qualified in both general and special education," Franks said.

The new program is an example of the cooperation among Wisconsin higher education institutions to make the best use of the state's educational resources, said Katherine Rhoades, associate dean of the UW-Eau Claire School of Education.

"Collaborations among UW System institutions have become even more significant within the current budget climate," Rhoades said. "This collaboration is one that truly benefits all, especially students who, by virtue of this arrangement, will be able to extend their credentials in ways that will enable them to serve better the needs of the youngest children and those who represent some of the greatest need for early learning interventions."

Such collaborations are the kinds of things an interactive, public regional university should be doing, said interim UW-Eau Claire Provost Steve Tallant. "Thanks to this program, our graduates will be better prepared to meet the educational needs of our region and state," Tallant said.

Implementation of the program began earlier this year. Franks said there are currently 10 undergraduates and two post-baccalaureate students from UW-Eau Claire who are seeking the additional general education certification. Forty students enrolled at UW-River Falls have requested information about the program.

It will take five years for UW-Eau Claire students to complete the program and six years for students from UW-River Falls to earn the dual certifications. Distance education makes it possible for faculty to teach students at the two sites, Franks said. Some courses are Web-based with one or two face-to-face meetings among faculty and students and others are delivered via two-way video. Still others will use traditional meeting formats on the campuses, he said.

Franks said the development of the collaborative program has been assisted by a $6,000 State Implementation Grant administered through the State Department of Public Instruction and a $21,000 University System PK-16 Initiative grant from the UW System. The money will be used to support orientation and training of teachers as cooperating teachers and mentors; to support teachers who will serve as adjunct professors in the region; to employ an external evaluator; and to purchase materials to supplement instruction on both campuses.

"We'll be testing the program over the next couple of years, assessing the electronic teaching environment's effectiveness and the program's cost effectiveness, and identifying student teaching sites that offer three experiences for children ages 0-3, 3-6, 6-9," Franks said.



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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: July 15, 2004