By Steven Krolak
Beginning in Fall 2016, teacher education students in Madison, Ind. and the surrounding area will be able to obtain an IU undergraduate degree without leaving home.
Through a new partnership between IU Southeast and Ivy Tech Madison, students can complete the four-year program leading to a B.S. in elementary education at the Ivy Tech Madison campus. Until now, the course required commuting to New Albany once the students had obtained an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech.
Under the plan, education faculty from IU Southeast will teach at Ivy Tech, and graduates will receive IU degrees. Advising dates for the program will be announced in January, and applications to the program will be accepted until May, 2016.
The program was officially launched at a reception on the Ivy Tech Madison campus on Tues., Dec. 1, attended by IU Southeast Chancellor Dr. Ray Wallace, Ivy Tech Madison President R. Kathleen Mote, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Uric Dufrene, Dean of the School of Education Dr. Doyin Coker-Kolo, and Dr. Gloria Murray, professor in the School of Education and Madison program coordinator, as well as students, faculty and administrators from both institutions, and teachers and representatives from area schools.
“We at IU Southeast are very pleased with the quality of the students — very strong students — who graduate from this institution,” Wallace said. “And so we’re bringing one of our strongest programs here.”
“We are very excited to formalize our partnership with IU Southeast, so that we can create a full stream of opportunity for students that begins in high school with earning the first year of college credit, continues with earning an associate degree and culminates in earning a bachelor’s degree, all right at home and in high-impact economic areas like education,” said Mote.
“This is an opportunity for us to serve a community that certainly deserves a four-year program,” said Dufrene. “In light of ongoing teacher shortages in Indiana, the launch of this program comes at an ideal time for the region and the state. It’s an opportunity to produce more teachers who will remain in the region.”
“One of the goals of IU Southeast as a university is to expand the recruitment of adult learners, ” said Coker-Kolo. “Community partnerships are crucial to this effort, so we are excited that the relationship with Ivy Tech has begun.”
The program is the culmination of over four years of work begun by Murray and Drs. Karla Henderson and Matthew Probst from Ivy Tech. The location was approved by the Higher Learning Commission in May 2015, and a distance learning course was added this fall.
A pilot program involving four students from Madison, all with associate degrees, has been underway since 2014. Getting it off the ground involved finding Ivy Tech students with who could meet the Elementary Program criteria and who could work in the program full-time, locating schools in the area that would be willing to serve as field sites for the practicum and finding faculty in the Madison area who could serve as adjunct instructors, joining IU Southeast faculty at Ivy Tech, said Murray.
The four students — Elizabeth Houchen, Angela Hutchinson, Danielle Messer and Molly Toomey — are completing their Block III practicum, which has included methods courses and a four-week field placement experience at Switzerland County Elementary School in Rising Sun, Ind. They are expected to begin student-teaching in the area in January, and to graduate with the bachelor’s degree in elementary education in May.
In remarks at the reception, Toomey recounted the challenge of driving four times each week, one-hour each way, to IU Southeast and back home to Madison, while juggling school assignments, a job and a relationship.
“A lot of people in the area don’t think they can get a four-year degree because they work, have kids, lead a busy life,” she said. “So it’s wonderful to have this program come here.”
Homepage photo: Pilot program students Angela Hutchinson and Danielle Messer (seated), Elizabeth Houchen and Molly Toomey (standing).