CHAS secondary teaching programs prepare leaders for the classroom, and the community
Graduating from college can be nerve wracking, and even more so in the midst of a global pandemic. But for the future teachers graduating from UNI, high placement rates and an excellent reputation for teacher preparation means security – even the most chaotic of times.
Over the past several years, many of the secondary teaching programs in the UNI College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences have boasted 100% placement rates – meaning students were hired to teach in the area they studied, right out of college.
And even as COVID-19 has disrupted virtually every aspect of our lives, it hasn’t changed the fact that UNI teaching majors are still in high demand.
Wendy Miller, professor of art education, says it’s not unusual for school districts to contact her more than a year in advance to line up candidates for teaching positions.
“Our students are highly sought after. At the start of the fall semester, I’ve already had a principal contact me for next fall because they weren't able to fill their art opening this summer,” Miller said. “I reassured him that we have a number of student teachers in the field right now who will be ready to teach in January, and I shared the job opening with these students. We’ve even had school districts drive up here to interview art teachers on campus.”
With the largest art education program in Iowa, UNI has more than double the number of students than at any other school in the state, and most of these students take teaching positions right here in Iowa.
“We’re so lucky that the majority of our students choose to take positions in Iowa, and I think this has to do with how much time we spend working in the community through engaged learning in our classes, our field experiences, and through outreach within our student art education group,” Miller said.
For school districts looking to hire teachers, it seems natural that so many look to UNI, as the unique combination of numerous in-depth field experiences, community engagement and unique learning experiences set students apart.
As a secondary teaching major, each student takes part in three structured field experiences, gaining teaching experience in the classroom starting their sophomore year.
Outside of the classroom, programs focus heavily on community outreach and building partnerships with local schools and organizations – teaching students to be leaders not only in the classroom, but in their communities as well.
In the Department of Technology, Tech Education students partner with local school districts on engaging and interactive building projects. In the Department of Art, Art Education majors routinely work with local school districts to create murals, build sculptures and provide unique programming to youngsters. Science Education students help operate the Science Education Resource Center, which collaborates with K-12 science teachers to provide science kits and learning materials to local school districts. In the Department of Theatre, students have the chance to work directly with youth from the community to provide unique programming and learning experiences centered around theatre and drama for youth.
Throughout the other secondary teaching programs in CHAS, students are just as involved – leading to astoundingly high placement rates for graduates.
Each year, the Department of Technology at UNI produces more Tech Ed teachers than any other institution in the state, and the Department of Languages and Literatures produces more Language Arts teachers than any other institution – with thousands of graduates teaching around the state and the nation.
John Fritch, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, says he’s proud of the UNI secondary teaching graduates, and the impact they’re making around the state and the country.
“Every day, our graduates are shaping their communities and students' lives in great ways,” Fritch said. “Teachers are the backbone of society, and we’re proud of our graduates and the great work they’re doing in our schools every day.”