Auburn University’s new online program aims to combat teacher shortage

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The application deadline is quickly approaching for a new degree program at Auburn University that will start this fall. The College of Human Sciences plans to offer a completely online bachelor’s degree to help combat the teacher shortage that is seen across the country.

Auburn teamed up with the Department of Early Childhood Education to offer a human development and family science degree with a focus on early child development. The goal is to offer a flexible program that produces highly skilled teachers for the state’s First Class Pre-K program as it continues to expand.

“We grew our programs this year by 107 programs for the 2022-23 school year,” said Barbara Cooper, secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.

“The problem is we need high-quality teachers to fill those classroom teaching jobs,” said Emily Cumbie, a student success coordinator for Auburn.

There are nearly 3,000 First Class Pre-K teachers, but the plan is to add 200 classrooms a year until the state can enroll 70% of 4-year-olds by 2026.

“As we’re adding additional classrooms, there could be even greater challenges if we aren’t doing things to be very proactive,” said Cooper.

Auburn’s program is completely online and asynchronous.

“These online classes are really tailored to people who are working, people who are busy,” said Cumbie. “It’s an accelerated program, so all of our courses are being offered in a seven and a half week minimester.”

And enrolled students can also enter the class before they even finish their degree.

“We’ll give an auxiliary teacher at least a year in order to gain that actual CDA credential in order to be able to continue working in their classroom,” said Cooper.

There is no cap on the number of students allowed in this program, but the deadline to apply is July 15, as classes will begin this fall.

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