The Cal State Fullerton College of Education was awarded a $240,648 grant on Dec. 8 from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to aid in creating more four-year teaching programs.
Sixteen other CSU campuses received the grant alongside CSUF, earning the system over $5.18 million, according to the CSU website.
“There are subject areas that are in a higher need for teachers,” said Aimee Nelson, director of the Center for Careers in Teaching in the College of Education. “It’s getting to the point now where we have such a shortage that almost every area in K-12 is a high need.”
The Integrated Program Grants are aimed at increasing the number of students earning bilingual, special education and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) credentials. Nelson said the state has been trying to help California’s K-12 teacher shortage by funding universities that offer teacher education programs.
“(CSUF’s Teacher Education Pathway Grant) will support the highly motivated student that wants to come in and earn the bachelor’s degree and the credential within four years rather than five years,” said Melinda Pierson, Ph.D., department chair of special education.
Barbara Glaeser, Ph.D., professor of special education, said that there is a plan to establish a Google group including other CSUs to collaborate on how to use the grant by sharing resources and strategies.
Pierson, who co-wrote the Teacher Education Pathway Grant with Glaeser, said she wants to support students who know they want to be a special education teacher in the areas of mild to moderate disabilities or moderate to severe disabilities.
Pierson and Glaeser said the goal of the grant is to plan a new program to streamline the process of College of Education students earning a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential in four years.
Pierson and Glaeser have partnered with Fullerton College, Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College and Saddleback College in order to recruit students to the program and then work with them to make sure they complete the program.
Glaeser says that this new program is still an experiment as the whole program has to be rewritten in order to get students to graduate faster. However, Glaeser says that they have received a great deal of support from the CSU chancellor’s office and is proud to have been given the opportunity to work on this program.
“Once the program is in place, we can open it up to everyone,” Glaeser said. “Our program is the pilot for the direction that the state wants to go.”