North Carolina education leaders recently signed an agreement to address the critical teacher shortage in the state, and Piedmont Community College (PCC) is ready and prepared to facilitate it locally ( Click here to watch the agreement signing ).

President Thomas Stith of the  North Carolina Community College System  and President Peter Hans of the  University of North Carolina System  made a joint announcement of their new  Comprehensive Articulation Agreement  that will increase opportunities for community college students to transfer to teacher education programs within the UNC System.

PCC began the program a year ago during the Fall 2020 semester offering two degrees to students – Associate in Arts in Teacher Preparation and Associate in Science in Teacher Preparation. These degrees give aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn their general education at PCC after completing their first two years, transfer to any four-year university or college, then become a licensed teacher in the K-12 system.

Now with the Uniform Articulation Agreement, signed by Stith and Hans, students in this program can seamlessly transfer as a junior to any of the 16 public universities in the UNC System. The program provides students the opportunity to transfer to many of North Carolina’s private colleges and universities as well.

“The signing of these agreements lets us simplify processes and remove barriers for students to continue their education in North Carolina,” Stith said. “We appreciate this needed opportunity to better align with partners within the UNC System to accelerate student progress and support the teacher education pipeline in North Carolina.”

The Associate in Arts in Teacher Preparation is designed for those who want to teach in the humanities or social sciences and the Associate in Science in Teacher Preparation is tailored for those with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

In addition to 45 credit hours of general education courses, teacher prep students will also complete a social diversity course as well as four teacher education courses: Teaching and Learning for All, Foundations of Education, Literacy Development and Instruction, and Teacher Licensure Preparation.

Dr. Barbara Buchanan, PCC Vice President of Instruction and Chief Academic Officer, said that PCC’s Teacher Preparation degrees are helping complete two things at once. By streamlining the program, it prepares students for their next step at the university level and helps solve North Carolina’s teacher crisis.

“North Carolina has faced a teacher shortage for a long time, leaving universities as the only source to solve the issue,” Buchanan said. “The Teacher Preparation degree programs and the state-wide articulation agreement allow community colleges to help as well. By starting at PCC, future teachers have an option that’s closer to home and more affordable.”

Current students enrolled in PCC’s Teacher Prep program say they are excited about the hands-on opportunity to build a solid teaching foundation, so they can deliver a quality education to students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles. PCC Teacher Preparation student Kamaya Winstead said, “PCC’s Teacher Prep program is a great learning tool and has many great benefits to offer while I further my education, such as the opportunity to save money before I transfer to a four-year university.”

 “I am learning that children come in many different forms and that teachers must be creative while developing different learning techniques to make all their students feel included,” Mitzy Ibarra, PCC Teacher Preparation Student, said. “A teacher must be adaptable because every student is unique. These are important aspects for my next step, which is transferring into East Carolina University’s Partnership Teach Program, then eventually become an elementary teacher.”

 “It is extremely important for students to have access to a quality education,” Vaxaeadrene Allen, another PCC Teacher Preparation student, said. “I hope to build strong academic knowledge with my students so that knowledge, learned through the power of education, will help improve social and economic conditions of the most vulnerable. I plan to further my education after completing this degree at North Carolina Central University as a history major, then teach at the high school level.”

PCC’s Education Instructor and Articulation Coordinator Dr. Bryan Ruffin said after only one year, the Teacher Preparation program is developing a strong base, and as the program grows, the College hopes to increase opportunities to support Person and Caswell counties.

“PCC currently has several students enrolled in the Teacher Preparation program,” Ruffin said. “We hope to strengthen our community and university partnerships as we continue to grow the Teacher Preparation program.”

To learn more about the Teacher Preparation Associate Degrees, contact Dr. Ruffin at bryan.ruffin@piedmontcc.edu or (336) 322-2114.

President Thomas Stith of the North Carolina Community College System and President Peter Hans of the University of North Carolina System made a joint announcement and signing of their new Comprehensive Articulation Agreement that will increase opportunities for community college students to transfer to teacher education programs within the UNC System.

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