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UW-RF & UW-EC Launch Joint Degree Program

By Charlotte J. Muenzenberger
UW-RF News Bureau

MARCH 24, 2005--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls and UW-Eau Claire are collaborating to provide students with dual certification in general and special education.

The program offers UW-RF students the opportunity to earn an early childhood special education license through UW-EC, and UW-EC students can earn a general education Pre-K-3 license through UW-RF. The Collaborative Dual Enrollment Teacher Education Program provides interaction between students from both UW-EC and UW-RF campuses.

UW-RF teacher education professor Gay Ward introduced the program in the spring 2004 when she began teaching at UW-EC. In its second year, program has captured interest among students at both UW-RF and UW-EC. "The program allows for response to the incredible demand for teachers skilled in teaching inclusive classrooms," says Ward. By becoming dual-certified, education students will have more job opportunities.

UW-RF student Molly Yoch, the first student to participate in this program, took one course through UW-EC this semester and plans to continue her dual certification by taking two more courses next semester. Ward estimates that more than 60 students in addition to Yoch are interested in enrolling in the program for the summer.

The program prepares teachers to serve young children who possess a wide range of abilities and needs, in order to improve the quality of care and increase education resources. This will provide students with more opportunities for employment and will help schools secure and retain high quality teachers to meet the ever-changing needs of communities.

The program fits a variety of needs by fostering development of inclusive classrooms, which recognizes the importance of parenting, child care and early educational experiences, the need for expanded preparation of child care personnel and teachers, and the rights of children with special needs to share quality child care and early education with typically developing peers.

Through UW-EC, UW-RF students take courses such as: Introduction to Special Education, Curriculum and Methods for Students with Mild Disabilities, Measurement in Early Intervention, Teaching Children Birth to Nine, Intervention with Atypical Infants to Toddlers, Methods for Students with Learning Disabilities, and Behavior Management. Meanwhile, students at UW-EC learn by taking classes through UW-RF such as: Developmental Learning, Infant/Toddler Programs, Early Childhood Language Arts and Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum.

Students participate in an actual classroom setting by completing three teaching experiences. They teach children ages birth to three, three to six, and six to nine. The teaching sites consist of children developing both typically and atypically. These sites provide a direct supervised teaching experience for students. Students teach a minimum of 18 children, working with 10-12 children who experience single and mild disabilities, and 8-10 children who experience multiple and severe disabilities.

Study options offer students the chance to learn using traditional face-to-face campus courses, Web site instruction, and two-way real time television.

The program requires students to register on both campuses. However, if enrolled in 12-18 credits, the student may avoid paying registration fees on both campuses and only pay it to the home campus. Students also pay segregated fees on a credit basis for each credit taken through the secondary campus. Minnesota residents to notify their home state that they will be taking courses as part of their studies offered by both campuses.

Working teachers who have already obtained an Early Childhood Special Education degree, Pre-K-3 Certification, or finished related training, can enroll in this program to earn an add-on license. Teacher Krista Johnson graduated 10 years ago from UW-EC with a degree in Early Childhood Special Education. With the coming of four-year old kindergarten to her school district, she suddenly found the need for additional certification, which is not offered at UW-EC.

"A busy mom with three children, I can take these courses through UW-RF and avoid spending extra time away from home," says Johnson. "The program between the two universities has been a huge blessing for my family and me."

For additional information on the Collaborative Dual Enrollment Teacher Education Program, contact one of the following program advisors: Gayle Ward at: 715/425-0601 or gayle.ward@uwrf.edu, David Franks at 715/836-5740 or franksdj@uwec.edu, or Michael Martin at 715/425-3740 or michael.martin@uwrf.edu.

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Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:21 Central Daylight Time

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