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New mandatory meetings for education majors

GARRETT DECROSTAStaff Writer

Every semester, incoming students at Southern Connecticut State University need to be aware of the new changes made to the Education department curriculum. Southern is recognized as having one of the best programs in the state for becoming a teacher. It is a very demanding program and is increasing the demands for acceptance this year for the Fall 2011 semester.

From Oct 5 through 13, the Education department will be holding mandatory meetings for all undergraduate students interested in being accepted into the Elementary, Early Childhood Education or Collaborative Elementary/Special Education programs.

All of the meetings contain the same content but students must choose one meeting to attend to learn about their future process within the education program. Maria Diamantis, chairwoman of the education department, held one of the meetings on Oct 7.

“We want to introduce the process for the education students to prepare for the four different programs,” she said. “Because we are regulated by the state, we can not let students take courses out of sequence.”

On top of the basic introduction to the program, three important new changes were presented at the meeting. The first change was that before any student can begin fieldwork at a school, a background check needs to be completed and must be done by the school for which the student is applying to do fieldwork. A work-related or side background check will not work and it must be mandated by the school themselves. Samantha O’Buck, junior education major, attended the meeting on the 7th.

“These requirement changes and current requirements make sense. The department wants us to be prepared,” she said. “Also, the state wants the best for us as well.”

The next big change was that students are now required to take a classroom management course, which must focus on a “bullying” section somewhere within the course. This is a change for the department

because within the courses already being offered, classroom management is already being discussed.

“A lot of these changes are being proposed by people who are not educators,” said Diamantis. “I see their need to make the classroom management course, but I do not see it as a law.”

The meetings also touch upon the process of registering for courses and how students should go about selecting the proper courses to take. Education majors must have two majors when applying to the program. They can either focus on two different majors or choose to focus on liberal studies. This change lets students vary their range of topics and look at subjects such as math, science, English or psychology, which are also important pieces in education as well.

The final change being made to the education program is the acceptance of collaborative students into that program. At the moment, a law is being processed as to whether or not that will go into the Masters program for education or if it will remain in the Bachelors program. If the law is passed Southern will not accept students past the Fall 2012 semester to graduate in the 2016 semester. If the law is not passed, Southern will keep supporting the Bachelors collaborative program, which focuses on Special Education. Stephen Leonetti is a freshman student focusing on Elementary Education.

“Even though it does not directly affect me I feel that the process of going for the collaborative education degree is going to be more difficult,” he said. “It may turn some students off due to the longer process but it will definitely pay off in the end.”

The education department has raised its demands in terms of what students need to do in order to graduate. With current graduates struggling to find work, entering students will need to provide more experience and help themselves stand out even further amongst the competition.

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