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Physical Education Teacher Education Program stands out in WI teacher preparation

| Marquell Johnson & Jamie O'Connor

As the expectations for teachers and school districts continue to increase, teacher preparation programs across the University of Wisconsin System are doing their best to meet the demands.  The UWEC Physical Education Teacher Education Program, like all Wisconsin university programs facing new budgetary constraints, began to examine ways in which to update teacher training. Physical education faculty scrutinized elements of the program, including all courses comprising the comprehensive major, to trim potential redundancies and facilitate a more streamlined pathway to an undergraduate degree.

Although the UWEC Physical Education Teacher Education Program has always been a standout program in the region, the program now boasts several unique qualities that will be attractive to potential teacher candidates. For example, undergraduate students who declare a Kinesiology major (with an emphasis on Physical Education) at the beginning of their freshman year, can graduate within four years, potentially saving money for students and families. Further, students will be licensed to teach three content areas: K-12 physical education, adapted physical education, and health. This fact will help students be much more marketable as they enter the workforce. Finally, it’s important to note that our program continues to embed several application-based practicum experiences throughout the curriculum, helping our teacher candidates gain valuable teaching opportunities with students with varied needs.

The program will remain vigilant in its quest to serve students in the most helpful ways. Each year the program's seniors evaluate each part of their teacher training, providing both critical and positive examples of their many experiences. Students from the UWEC Physical Education Teacher Education program are incredibly successful at landing teaching and coaching positions upon graduation (over 90% have been hired in education or related fields). Most of our graduates seek and acquire positions in Wisconsin and Minnesota, with a few recent alumni teaching K-12 physical education, adapted physical education and health in places such as Fall Creek (WI), Bloomer (WI), La Crosse (WI), St. Paul (MN) and Aldine (TX).

Questions regarding the UWEC Physical Education Program can be directed to:

Dr. Jamie O’Connor