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New Cascade Campus Program Fosters Future Teachers

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by Susan Hereford

A team of faculty, counselors and administrators at Portland Community College have been working diligently over the last year to unveil a new program for students hoping to become teachers – particularly math and science teachers.

To that end, this fall the Cascade Campus will offer a pre-teacher education program. Students in the new program will earn their Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree – which guarantees community college students junior status at Oregon’s universities – but they also will focus on special learning experiences that target their interests and needs for a teaching career.

Students will receive specialized advising and counseling, and information about how their PCC transfer degree articulates with four-year colleges and universities. Also included in the program are career introduction classes that will give students a chance to meet local teachers and attend professional seminars. In addition, they will earn credit for internships at local schools, and at community centers such as the YMCA LearningLinks program and the Salvation Army.

John Koroloff, PCC biology instructor, is helping design the science and math curriculum for the pre-teacher program. A focus will be on class activities that puts students in the field, outside of the classroom.

"It is important that early in their college studies, science education majors have an understanding of how to teach youngsters by creating practical, hands-on activities that will turn kids on to science," said Koroloff.

"By designing science education courses that give them first-hand experience in field research and site-based activities, we can accomplish that goal," he added.

Another Cascade faculty member, Porter Raper, will help place the pre-education students in internships. Raper, who coordinates the college’s Service Learning program – which pairs students with community service volunteer assignments as a way to earn college credit – said service learning will add greater value to the cohort-style program that has been planned.

"A teacher education program is an ideal match for service learning," said Raper. "As these future teachers are working on their general education requirements, they will be provided the opportunity, through their service learning at an elementary school, to witness first-hand how the various disciplines they are studying are all alive in the young children.

"At the same time," he continued, "they’ll be reflecting about their own role as community members and future teachers."

To learn more about the pre-education program, please contact Cascade Campus Dean of Instruction Charles Sieracki, 978-5573.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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