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Educating Our Future Teachers In A New Kind of Classroom

Stony Brook professor assists students with computer work.

Most of us have had a teacher that has made a profound impact on our life. Whether it was a kindergarten teacher who showed you what it meant to care about your classmates, or you were fortunate enough to have a state or nationally recognized teacher like 2013 NYS Teacher of the Year, Greg Ahlquist, or 2014 Outstanding Community Colleges Professor, John Wadach, most of us know the impact of having a teacher that teaches us about hard work and dedication. (In my case, it was Mrs. Judy Keller who spent many hours before and after school getting me through my high school calculus class. She told me she cried when she saw I passed my final exam. Thank you, Mrs. Keller!)

But even with the good ones, the number of educated teachers has declined in the last forty five years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, between 2008 – 2009 there were 101,708 bachelor degrees in education conferred, declining from a peak of 176,307 in 1970-1971. Even just twenty years ago, approximately 5,000 more education degrees were awarded.

The decline of degrees conferred, coupled with the increasing numbers of teachers and administrators retiring and declining test scores internationally, can only mean one thing – now, more than ever, New York State needs qualified teachers.

A New Kind of Classroom

SUNY has been working diligently to prepare the next generation of teachers in New York State and beyond. Beyond traditional education programs for a special subject or a particular grade level, SUNY is making strides to further develop teachers through TeachNY and the Master Teacher Program. While TeachNY is developing policies that will strengthen teacher preparation practices and address challenges of the classroom, the Master Teacher program is celebrating the achievements of science, technology, engineering, and math teachers and allowing them to continue their education through professional development and mentorship opportunities.

According to employment prospect statistics from the New York State Department of Labor, employment opportunities for teachers are very favorable. Education Administrators at all levels are expected to have over 1,100 annual openings between 2012 – 2022. There are also over 20,000 jobs in the education, training, and library fields expected to be available annually during that same time period, including post secondary instructors, special education, and even substitute teachers.

To help fulfill the growing need for qualified teachers in New York State,  6 Open SUNY+ programs were selected to provide enhanced instruction to future teachers. The list of Open SUNY+ education programs include:

Another Open SUNY+ program, the Master of Music in Music Education program offered through Buffalo State College, has even created a video allowing you to learn more about the program.

Over 300 online students will benefit from the additional supports and services provided to them as an Open SUNY+ student.

For students who are not ready to enroll in a degree program, or students who take traditional courses on a campus, individual courses are also available for viewing through the Open SUNY Navigator.

Education programs aren’t the only programs that Open SUNY+ supports. There are also degree programs in health carebusinesscriminal justice, information technology, and many other areas. These programs by Open SUNY provide access to high-quality higher education options with the tools and experiences needed to be successful after graduation, all elements and options for a path to success.

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    Written by Emily Schwartz

    Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.

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