Thursday, August 16, 2018

UIS to offer a new dual credit course in an effort to encourage high school students to become teachers

UIS Teacher Education major Gabby Zeigler student teaches a class in 2015.
The University of Illinois Springfield’s Teacher Education Department will offer a new dual credit course for high school seniors in Menard and Sangamon Counties in an effort to encourage them to become teachers.

This is only the second year that UIS has offered dual credit courses, taught by University faculty members, to local high school students. The seniors will earn both college and high school credit for completing the course.

The dual credit course being offered is titled “Foundations of American Education.” The series of classes will provide students with an introduction to U.S. public and private K-12 schools through an exploration of the history and philosophy of education. The course counts toward general education credits for those students who attend UIS to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone involved. The students get a head start on their college credits and a chance to see what teaching is about from the other side of the desk,” said Cindy Wilson, chair of the UIS Teacher Education Department. “Given the current teacher shortage, any efforts toward encouraging future teachers to enter the profession, to see the joy that is possible when someone they are teaching experiences a light bulb moment, well, that’s a good thing.”

The course will be offered on the UIS campus on Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. starting on August 29, 2018. The course will be taught by Scott Doerr, a UIS adjunct teacher education instructor and superintendent of the Nokomis School District. The course is open to any senior who attends a high school in Menard or Sangamon Counties.

The dual credit Teacher Education course will cost high school students $50, plus the cost of a textbook (rental, used and online options are available). Students can sign up for the course by talking to their high school guidance counselor before August 22.

“The cost is almost negligible, so this course will give parents a bit of a tuition break,” said Wilson. “The course also gives UIS an opportunity to recruit students and let them experience a college course before they graduate.”

While the course fulfills the introductory requirement for the UIS Teacher Education Program, the credits could also transfer to other institutions in the state if a student should choose to complete his or her education degree elsewhere.

“This is the latest dual credit program where high school students can earn college credit at UIS,” said Fernando Planas, UIS director of admissions. “We believe that many of the high school students participating in the dual credit programs will find UIS to be an outstanding academic institution with exceptional opportunities and a great place to pursue their college degrees.”

In August 2017, UIS Associate Professor of Biochemistry Stephen R. Johnson offered the first dual credit course for high school students at UIS. A group of 18 students from Springfield’s Sacred Heart-Griffin High School (SHG) took part in the pilot program. The dual credit chemistry course will again be offered to SHG students during the 2018-2019 academic year.

For more information on the course, contact Cindy Wilson, chair of the UIS Teacher Education Department, at 217/206-6386 or cwils1@uis.edu.