Published July 30, 2018
A new UB combined-degree program called UB Teach will allow students to become eligible for a teacher certificate in five years while becoming an expert in their preferred discipline.
The UB Teach program, offered through UB’s Graduate School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, takes a full year off the time needed to earn a bachelor’s degree, saving students and their families significant tuition and at the same time letting students take advantage of UB’s outstanding academic content areas.
“The UB Teach program formalizes the pipeline into graduate study,” says Beth Etopio, clinical assistant professor and assistant dean of teacher education in UB’s Graduate School of Education. This allows students to come in as freshmen and have a pathway available to them to becoming a certified teacher.
“It really streamlines the process, and it makes it quicker, cheaper in the long run for students. And they will leave highly prepared to be teachers in the field and in their content areas.”
The UB Teach program begins this fall semester, according to Claire S. Schen, associate dean of undergraduate education in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences, which is coordinating the UB Teach program with the Graduate School of Education.
Besides streamlining and shortening the path to becoming a certified teacher, the UB Teach program also addresses a statewide SUNY initiative implementing innovative education programs. It allows undergraduate students who want to be teachers to take advantage of the outstanding research programs going on at UB, as well as the expanding experiential, immersive classroom experiences developed within the Graduate School of Education (i.e. simulated, virtual reality classroom experiences as well as urban teacher residency).
“We know from the university’s undergraduate side that SUNY is very concerned about the concerns parents and students have about career readiness,” says Schen. “Those concerns are very much tied to the cost of higher education.
“A lot of our prospective undergraduate students are very direct in asking questions about career readiness and how we are going to help them with that,” she says. “And this gives us within the college another way of talking about that for students in the humanities and STEM fields. We will prepare you.”
Although precise student enrollment numbers will not be available until the fall semester, Etopio and Schen said prospective students and their parents have expressed “a great deal of interest” in the new UB Teach program.
UB educators learned on a Wednesday in April they could announce the UB Teach program. The next Sunday, administrators talked about the program at a session for students who had been accepted to attend UB this fall.
“We had so many questions about the program,” Schen said. “Students and parents were really very interested in learning more about this. It was an exciting day to have so many students ask questions.”
The seven program areas included in UB Teach are math, English, history/social studies, classics / Latin, biology, chemistry and geological sciences.
“Those who become teachers recognize the lasting reward of seeing students have that ‘aha’ moment, that spark of interest in a child that represents learning,” says Etopio.
“Teaching is a helping profession for those who want to involve themselves in communities and endeavor to transform society through high-quality education of all students.”