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A Great Degree of Progress The Department of Education and the A.A.T.

by Patricia A. Basili, Chair of the Education Department

Itís time to get the word out! Students can start their pursuit of a career in teaching at our community college and transfer to any four-year institution that has an approved elementary/middle school teaching program without having to take additional courses or re-take courses.

In August 2001, the MHEC granted approval for the elementary/middle school Associate of Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.) degree to Prince Georgeís Community College, along with five other community colleges.  We now offer a program that is in alignment with the Maryland Re-Design for Teacher Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Colleges of Teacher Education.  Nine of the remaining community colleges expect to receive approval shortly.

The degree eliminates the need for articulation agreements between two and four year colleges in the area of teacher education.  Up until this point over 300 such agreements were in effect across the state resulting in a dizzying array of possible course schedules for students.  At a recent meeting of the Teacher Education Articulation Committee (TEAC), Dr. Virginia Pilato, Chief of Program Approval at the Maryland State Department of Education, said that students who earn the Associate of Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.) have a "ticket" into the colleges of education.  Dr. Pilato also expressed the hope that the Secondary A.A.T. would be ready for approval in the very near future.  TEAC is working with Arts and Sciences faculty from around the state to formulate the course outcomes for the secondary teaching associates degree.

The degree-building process started when Dr. Vera Zdravkovich and Dr. Michael Kiphart, who shared the chair of the Maryland Chief Academic Officers Group, charged TEAC in the fall of 1999 with finding a solution to the articulation problem.  It is my privilege to serve as co-chair of that group with Dr. Dennis Hinkle of Towson University.

Prior to the A.A.T. few community colleges had Departments of Education. Their course offerings were generally limited to the area of Early Childhood Education and a small number of courses for working teachers. In the past three years 15 of the 16 community colleges have established education departments that offer the pre-professional courses that are the core of the new program. Beyond this, Prince Georgeís Community College currently offers all nine courses required for elementary/middle school certification for career changers and other holders of bachelorís degrees and all seven courses required for secondary certification. Four courses are common to both certification areas. Over four hundred provisional teachers and career-changers are taking these courses this semester.

Twelve students enrolled in the Foundations of Education (EDU 200) in fall 2001. This course and its companion course EDU 233- Field Experience for Foundations of Education are the beginning of the pre-professional core of the A.A.T. A number of our second and third semester students may be eligible for the A.A.T. by May of 2002. The following is a summary of the 66 credits that make up the elementary A.A.T.

EDU 200/233- Foundations of Education/Field Experience
EDU 203/234- Introduction to Special Education/Field Experience

PSY 206/EDU235-Educational Psychology/Field Experience
EDU 210- Processes and Acquisition of Reading

Three science courses: BIO 101, PSC 120, PSC 121
Three mathematics courses: MAT 105, MAT 106, MAT 116

English 101/102
History 141
Political Science 101
PSY 101- General Psychology
PSY 203- Child Psychology
SPH 109- Interpersonal Communication

Two new courses (developed with grant money by statewide teams):
ART 273- Integrated Arts
HLE 230- Integrated Health and Physical Education

Students must maintain a 2.75 GPA with no Dís and pass PRAXIS I, the first half of the Maryland Licensure exam.

The State of Maryland needs excellent teachers and we are doing our best to supply them.


The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 2

Fall 2001