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Advocating for Community College Teacher Education Programs through Bachelor Degree Options

by Dr. Jennifer Gresko – NACCTEP Board Secretary

Faculty Chair Education Programs, Rio Salado College

In the Fall 2021 NACCTEP newsletter, I discussed “New Opportunities on the Horizon for Maricopa Community Colleges”. As promised, I am back to share our progress and learning along the way. When I think about the work we have engaged in thus far, a few words come to, collaboration, and expertise!

Energy. In a time where many faculty, advisors, and staff members are feeling the Zoom fatigue of the last two years, a new sense of energy is being felt driven by the discussions of what a bachelor’s degree in education would consist of. Regardless of the role an individual plays in their “day job”, those participating on the various planning committees are energized by building something new. Their passion for students, their stories, and the possibilities of meeting the students’ needs in ways we have not been able to before brings a positive excitement to the heavy lift we are embarking on!

Collaboration. The Maricopa Community College District is a large system of 10 sister colleges, each independently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). While we share a joint curriculum bank of courses and have worked collaboratively over the years within our district-wide Instructional Councils, we find that our weekly curriculum writing sessions are bringing us closer together. Our prior history of working together brings to the working sessions trust, honesty, and praise for each other in the work we are doing. We are working with a collaborative, not a competitive mindset. Each of us is so much stronger together than working separately.

Expertise. Can’t say it enough.... each of us is so much stronger together. We have experts on our bachelor’s curriculum committee in areas such as special education, elementary, early childhood, reading, mathematics, curriculum design, advisors, and program directors. It is impossible for one person to know it all! Each individual brings their own expertise and an open mind to each meeting. They are willing to share their knowledge and experiences in an effort to create a new program that meets the needs of community college students and a highly effective educator! As the Spring 2022 semester comes to a close, our work here is only beginning. The summer will surely bring concentrated work towards several layers of approvals that need to happen during the 2022-23 academic year. I look forward to sharing more about our journey on the road towards a bachelor’s degree in education at the community college!

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