In terms of growth among teacher education major graduates and filling in-demand teaching positions, the University of North Alabama’s College of Education and Human Sciences is leading the state.
According to Dr. Ross Alexander, UNA provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, the institution is leading the statewide effort to train and retain Alabama teachers.
“North Alabama’s College of Education and Human Sciences has experienced atypical growth in its Early Childhood and Elementary Education programs,” stated Alexander. “UNA takes very seriously its history as a ‘Teacher’s College,’ and that is evidenced in the growth in these programs as well as the positive impact they have on fulfilling acute workforce needs.”
Under the direction of Dr. Eric Mackey, the Alabama State Department of Education launched a campaign to recruit and retain educators earlier this year. The initiative, We Teach Alabama, promotes state education programs to college students in an effort to fill in-demand positions.
According to UNA, since the school’s founding in 1830, it has embarked on a mission to prepare future Alabama teachers for their classroom roles. The institution noted that its mission still holds true today as UNA works to ensure the next generation of Alabama teachers are prepared and professional educators.
Of all UNA Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education majors, 99% are from Alabama. Additionally, UNA Early Childhood and Elementary Education programs have grown 37% in just six years.
Since 2014, the number of degrees awarded by UNA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education has increased by 53%, and an overwhelming majority of all UNA graduates in these programs are placed in Alabama schools.
The university also stated that it holds partnerships with nearly all North Alabama school districts to promote teacher retention. According to the institution, the efforts have resulted in a 103% increase in enrollment in UNA’s graduate teacher education programs since 2014.
Dr. Katie Kinney, dean of UNA’s College of Education and Human Sciences, pointed to the Kilby Laboratory School as being one of the driving forces behind the successful initiative.
“Part of the equation for our success is also Kilby Laboratory School,” advised Kinney. “As the state’s only state-funded university laboratory school in the state, Kilby provides a true ‘learning laboratory’ for UNA students and allows them to be workforce ready immediately upon graduation.”
Kilby, a UNA-based Pre-K through sixth-grade laboratory school, was established as a training facility for future teachers.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL