MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

January 25, 2020 

Teacher Education: taking it to new levels while remaining true to our roots

Founded as a normal school in 1889, Mayville State has a rich tradition in educating teachers. While the university has grown and expanded to offer diverse opportunities for students, teacher education continues to play an integral role in Mayville State University’s mission.

The number of students seeking the Bachelor of Science in Education degree in Early Childhood Education via distance delivery has increased by 65 percent since 2017, and those seeking the B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education has increased by 62 percent. In 2017, 119 students were enrolled in these two education programs. In 2019, the programs had grown to support 188 degree-seekers. We are happy that we are helping to meet our state’s need for teachers.

Our Office of Extended Learning has reported that for the first time, Mayville State has more than 100 degree-seekers in a single online degree program with 121 students who have declared the B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education major and taking all classes through an online/distance delivery mode. With the B.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and Math Education added in, there are more than 200 online/distance Teacher Education degree seekers - more than half of the of the 399 undergraduate degree-seekers during the fall semester of 2019. The vast majority of these students are from North Dakota and Minnesota and, in most cases, can’t be in Mayville on a daily basis.

Growth in the Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education majors is due to significant work by Mayville State faculty members Dr. Kelli Odden and Dr. Ann Willeson, who have worked together with the staff of the Office of Extended Learning, which includes Connie Kaldor and many other talented staff. They are to be commended for their tireless efforts.

Faculty in the Division of Education are responsible for teaching the professional courses associated with the B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. Always on the leading edge of the latest advancements in their fields, they have updated their methods to increase student opportunities for learning. They deliver courses with a mixture of online, distance synchronous learning, and hybrid design.

The Division of Education will undergo a CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation) national accreditation site visit April 5 through April 7, 2020. The accreditation process has been completed by the collective work of the faculty, led by Dr. Sarah Anderson and data coordinator Kayla Smith. Faculty have worked on program accountabilities that included program reviews and revisions, key assessment validation processes, and research on program impact.

Accreditation is a process of validation in which colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning are evaluated. The standards for accreditation are set by a peer review board whose members include faculty from various accredited colleges and universities. To be accredited essentially puts the “seal of approval” on our programs.

Outreach activities are important and support the accreditation standards set before us. The outreach of Mayville State’s Division of Education faculty members to state and national organizations and schools is remarkable. Just since July, the Division of Education has established memorandums of understanding that support 166 partnerships with school districts across the state, region, and nation. These partnerships include nearly 375 individually arranged placements for student practicums. We appreciate the continued support of our K-12 partners in training well-prepared teachers for tomorrow.

To further MSU’s reach in the area of Early Childhood, Dr. Kelli Odden is a national board member for the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators/National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAECTE/NAEYC). She was recently named the president of the NAECTE Foundation board. 

Additionally, several members of the Mayville State Division of Education are members of state, regional, and national educator prep committees that work to positively impact teacher education policy and practices. This most definitely provides evidence of MSU’s commitment to the profession. It is clear that program outreach is a priority for the Division of Education.

There is great work going on all around us at Mayville State University. The results of these efforts are impacting us not only locally, but across our state, region, and nation. It makes me Comet Proud to know that we remain true to our roots in teacher education while taking our efforts to the next level via cutting-edge knowledge and delivery methods, as well as through outreach activities that make an impact far and wide. I congratulate and thank our renowned faculty and staff for their outstanding work.