ERIC Identifier: ED480193
Publication Date: 2003-07-00
Author: Nathan R. Durdella
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges
The Status of Teacher Education in Community Colleges.
The United States is in the midst of a teacher shortage. By 2010,
the United States will need between 2 and 2.5 million more elementary and
secondary school teachers to enter the classroom and assume the challenges
in public schools (Townsend and Ignash, 2003). While 4-year colleges
and universities continue to offer comprehensive teacher preparation programs,
community colleges have expanded their programs in the field of teacher
education in recent years to provide additional options for teacher training.
In addition to offering the first two years of requirements for a baccalaureate
degree, community colleges have added coordinated programs for transfer,
added new certificate and associate degree programs, and augmented support
services, all of which have increased student access to and completion
of teacher preparation programs.
This ERIC Digest, drawn from “The Role of the Community College in Teacher
Education" (New Directions for Community Colleges, Spring 2003), examines
trends in teacher education in the community colleges, including building
partnerships and articulation agreements with baccalaureate-granting institutions,
designing new associate degree and community college baccalaureate degree
programs, and gaining accreditation. Building Partnerships and Articulation
Building partnerships with 4-year colleges and universities has become
central to community colleges’ efforts in teacher education. In fulfilling
one of their missions as the first two years of a baccalaureate degree
program, community colleges have worked to close the gaps in transfer curriculum
for teacher education. Townsend and Ignash (2003) document how a
growing number of community colleges offer more options to 4-year college
and university teacher education programs because of their location, accessibility,
affordability, and open admissions policy. They report that officials
in a number of states seem to understand these advantages and are coordinating
policies to encourage articulation among community colleges and 4-year
colleges and universities to which community college students transfer.
State-Level Policy Coordination
State-level policy coordination is essential for teacher education in
community colleges to develop as part of seamless baccalaureate programs.
Coulter and Crowe (2003) contend that state officials, along with administrators
from local schools, community colleges, and universities, can coordinate
teacher preparation programs to ensure that K-12 and higher education sectors
train teachers collaboratively. They indicate that state education
agency policies have addressed a wide range of activities related to teacher
education programs, including planning and coordination, data reporting,
funding, mission designation, program approval and management, and system
alignment. In Missouri, for instance, a statewide articulation committee
has been charged with approving community college teacher education programs
to facilitate transfer to state universities (Lindstrom and Rasch, 2003).
In Arizona, leaders at the Maricopa Community Colleges initiated programs
for leaders of local high schools, community colleges, and 4-year colleges
and universities around the state that resulted in a transfer model for
preservice teachers along with postbaccalaureate certification and in-service
professional development for credentialed teachers (Gaskin, Helfgot, Parsons,
and Solley, 2003).
State Funding and Partnerships
Some states have funded innovative teacher education programs to encourage
collaboration between public community colleges and state universities
and in some cases between K-12 school districts, community colleges, and
state universities. In California, state officials developed two
funding programs, the Teacher and Reading Development Partnerships Program
(TRDP) and the Raising Expectations, Achievement, and Development in Schools
(READ) program (Hagedorn, Newman, and Duffy, 2003). TRDP addressed
K-6 reading scores and teacher shortages by connecting college students
with elementary school students for tutoring in reading. Similarly,
READ promotes partnerships between community colleges and California State
University campuses in teacher education. Community colleges that
have not been funded through statewide programs have teamed with local
public school districts to expand teacher preparation programs. Hagedorn,
Newman, and Duffy (2003 ) report that some partnerships have targeted instructional
assistants in local school districts. For example, they describe
how Los Angeles Trade Technical College partnered with the Los Angeles
Unified School District to bring classes, student services, and staff to
the work sites of the more than 15,000 instructional assistants in the
Designing New Degree Programs
In responding to the need for more teachers, community colleges have
begun to experiment with degree programs that provide students with new
options. Coulter and Crowe (2003) note that there are real concerns
at the state level concerning the possibility of “mission creep," where
the mission of one institution potentially infringes upon another’s (p.94).
The state’s role is to ensure that the statewide response to the demand
for more teachers takes such factors as statewide resources and institutional
mission into consideration.
Associate of Arts in Teaching
Some community colleges have designed unique associate degree programs
in education for students intending to transfer. McDonough (2003)
describes how Maryland’s community colleges have expanded their missions
by adding a new degree to their community college curriculum: the Associate
of Arts in Teaching (AAT). She reports that Maryland state officials
are building professional development schools for teachers. Maryland’s
AAT degree is fully articulated and identifies learning outcomes, in contrast
to specific course numbers and content, for the first sixty hours of instruction
in teacher education.
Bachelor of Arts in Education
Although state mandates have generally prohibited community colleges
from granting baccalaureate degrees, some community colleges have begun
offering a baccalaureate degree in teacher education. In 2001, Florida
state officials approved baccalaureate teacher education programs at St.
Petersburg College. Furlong (2003) reports this community college
delivers five-subject area programs leading to the baccalaureate.
In developing these programs, Furlong also reports that St. Petersburg
College officials addressed issues of securing full-time faculty and administrators
for the new programs, developing curriculum, seeking regional accreditation,
and determining program delivery areas. Furlong also describes how
St. Petersburg College staff have dealt with student travel concerns in
a heavily urban area, found appropriate facilities, trained financial aid
and other student services support staff about the new programs, and marketed
Alternative Teacher Certification
In addition to degree programs, community colleges have expanded teacher
certification programs. In Texas, community college officials streamlined
the teacher certificate structure by reducing the number of certificates
offered and by setting program requirements at the local community college
level. May, Katsinas, and Moore (2003) describe how alternative teacher
certification programs allow students holding baccalaureate and/or more
advanced degrees to enter the teaching profession without having to return
to college and major in education. These changes provide flexibility
to students who want to change careers and enter the field of teaching.
Like 4-year colleges and universities, community colleges must gain
accreditation to offer course credit and award degrees. For community
college teacher education programs, this means seeking accreditation from
at least one of the two national accrediting associations: the National
Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher
Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Imig and Harrill-McClellan
(2003) report that gaining accreditation legitimizes academic programs
while increasing program quality and prestige. They suggest two models
that community colleges could follow to obtain accreditation. First,
they advance that community colleges could seek accreditation by adapting
the accreditation standards of 4-year colleges and universities to meet
the specific requirements of their teacher education programs. Alternatively,
they describe an “umbrella" accreditation model that would allow community
colleges to be recognized, but not fully accredited, for their formal articulation
agreements with universities (p. 86).
In confronting a national teacher shortage, community colleges have
increased their commitment to and involvement in teacher education.
Today, many community colleges offer comprehensive programs and services
for training teachers. From university partnerships and articulation
agreements to new programs, community colleges have contributed to the
way teachers are educated, states respond to public education, and public
schools educate their students.
This Digest is drawn from “The Role of the Community College in Teacher
Education." New Directions for Community Colleges, Number 121, edited
by Barbara K. Townsend and Jan M. Ignash. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
Coulter, T., and Crowe, E. The Role of State Postsecondary Education
Policy in Supporting Teacher Education at the Community College.
Furlong, Jr., T.E. The Role of Community Colleges in Offering
the Baccalaureates in Teacher Education: An Emerging Possibility.
Gaskin, F., Helfgot, S., Parsons, S., and Solley, A. High Schools,
Community Colleges, and Universities: Partners in Teacher Education and
National Efforts. (pp. 47-58).
Hagedorn, L.S., Newman, F., and Duffy, J. Taking the Golden State
Path to Teacher Education: California Partnerships Among Two-Year Colleges
and University Centers. (pp. 27-36).
Imig, D., and Harrill-McClellan, M. Accrediting Standards Affecting
Mid-Level Teacher Education Preparation in the Community College.
Lindstrom, J., and Rasch, K. Transfer Issues in Preservice Undergraduate
Teacher Education Programs. (pp. 17-26).
May, P., Katsinas, S.G., and Moore, L. Alternative Teacher Certification
Programs and Texas Community Colleges. (pp. 67-78).
McDounough, M.L. A New Degree for the Community College: The Associate
of Arts in Teaching. (pp. 37-45).
Townsend, B., and Ignash, J. Community College Roles in Teacher
Education: Current Approaches and Future Possibilities. (pp. 5-16).