New U of Nebraska program aims to develop more teachers

December 19, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska has created a new teaching academy program to recruit, retain and develop a highly qualified and more diverse teaching workforce needed to meet the state’s rising school enrollment.

A gift from the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation is underwriting the Teachers Scholars Academy, providing four-year scholarships that will cover full tuition plus $8,000 annually for other educational costs for 104 students. Forty scholarships will be at the system’s Kearney and Lincoln campuses and 24 will be at the Omaha campus.

“The Teachers Scholars Academy is about Nebraska’s future,” University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds said.

The number of college students in Nebraska majoring in education has fallen to 3,600 from nearly 5,400 just nine years ago, the university said in a news release Monday. At the same time, enrollment in Nebraska’s schools has risen to more than 361,000 from 334,000.

The academy is open to incoming first-year students who have chosen early education, elementary or secondary education majors in an array of programs.

“Our program aim is to prepare the teachers who will be the backbone of school transformation, reflective thinkers who will continue to grow and develop beyond their degree,” said Beth Doll, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at the Lincoln campus.

Academy students will have access to learning communities and peer networking opportunities to strengthen retention and maximize their professional development.

“It’s going to take grit — this program is going to be more challenging than ordinary teacher education,” said Guy Trainin, who will run the program in Lincoln. “Nevertheless, academy students will live and study in a supportive community with a diverse, dynamic and vibrant group of peers.”

The first academy groups will begin classes next fall. The University of Nebraska Foundation plans to raise money for future academy classes.

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