WCU, A-B Tech sign agreement to foster teacher education

Western Carolina University and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College are teaming up to prepare more teachers for the area’s elementary and middle school classrooms.

A-B Tech student Jennifer Walters chats with President K. Ray Bailey.

A-B Tech student Jennifer Walters chats with President K. Ray Bailey.

Chancellor John W. Bardo of Western and President K. Ray Bailey of A-B Tech recently signed a “2 + 2” agreement that allows students who complete two years at A-B Tech to transfer seamlessly into their next two years in Western’s teacher education program. The new agreement specifies what credits will transfer and what additional courses A-B Tech students must take with electives at Western to earn the four-year bachelor’s degree in education.

Jennifer Walters, an A-B Tech student from Asheville, said it helps to have the requirements spelled out so clearly. “I’ve been out of school for 16 years,” Walters said. “Coming to A-B Tech has been a great way to re-acclimate to my studies so I won’t be so shell-shocked when I transfer to college.”

Through the new transfer agreement with Western, the “red tape” is already cut for students, she said. “It makes planning your schedule easier, and you have a decent idea of what your courses will be at the university. That’s really nice,” she said.

The smoother transition is expected to increase educational opportunities for community college students while increasing the number of well-prepared teacher candidates graduating from Western, said Bardo.

“With this agreement, we are helping to put more people on the path to successful careers in teaching. Western’s teacher education program is widely recognized as one of the best in the nation, and we welcome transfer students who have received a firm foundation at A-B Tech and will benefit from working with our faculty and public school partners,” Bardo said.

“Together we continue to do great work in providing our students opportunities to further their education,” Bailey said. “This agreement recognizes the strength of A-B Tech’s transfer program and the motivation of students who are prepared to take the next step forward. For the community, it means there will be more, well-qualified teachers available for our schools, and that’s what we need.”

In addition to a combination of required courses and electives, education majors at Western must maintain a grade point average of at least 2.75, participate in pre-service field experiences, and successfully complete a year-long internship in order to be eligible for graduation and teacher certification.

In 2006, Western’s College of Education won the national Association of Teacher Educators Distinguished Program Award and was a finalist for the prestigious national Christa McAuliffe Award presented by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Graduates of the Western’s education program are teaching in public schools in nearly every county in North Carolina.

For more information, contact Stephanie Yoder in the WCU Office of Admissions at (828) 227-7317 or Dale Carpenter in WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions at (828) 227-7311.