College adding teacher licensure
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 27, 2012 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- For education majors at Mount Olive College, the path to teaching is now an easier one to navigate.
In the past, students had to take the first three years of classes at MOC, but student teaching and licensure components could only be completed at a partnering university like Campbell, East Carolina or N.C. State.
In December 2010, the state Board of Education approved teacher licensure at MOC for kindergarten, elementary, music, health and physical education, agriculture, science, social studies, math and English.
This spring will mark the first round of graduates who have obtained licensure on a MOC campus.
"Most teacher education programs are at least 60 miles from Mount Olive," said Dr. Tommy Benson, chairman of the school's education department. "That was simply not convenient for most of our students."
The move not only helps students in the program, he said, but the local school systems.
"Very often if you get student teachers into your school system you can hire those teachers," he said, pointing out that the state trains an average of 2,500 to 3,000 teachers each year, but traditionally hires about 10,000 teachers.
That is a big gap that MOC hopes to help fill, Benson said.
He anticipates there will be a dramatic increase in the number of education majors at the college as a result of the ability to obtain licensure.
Previously, MOC might have only graduated one to two teacher education majors a year. In the first year offering teacher licensure, there are 23 students enrolled in elementary education, 22 in agriculture education, 14 in music education, 11 in mathematics education, eight in English education, eight in history education and two in science education. This, combined with the 365 students enrolled in early childhood education equates to 457 students, Benson said.
"It was music to my ears and a big relief," said Matinzicio Edmondson, a music education major, about the news. Without that component, he said he would have had to travel to Campbell University to finish those requirements.
Amanda Sharpe, secondary math education major, had a similar reaction.
"I was excited to find out that Mount Olive College was going to offer a teacher licensure program because I did not want to leave my friends and professors," the Selma native said. "I enjoy attending a small college and did not want to transfer."
There are also several advantages to offering such incentives at MOC versus a larger institution, Benson said -- among them smaller classes, individual attention and professors, rather than teaching assistants, at the helm.
The college is also pursuing additional programs of licensure, officials said. Areas being considered for the future include art and special education.