New degree can pave way for career goals
Southern Wesleyan University is now offering the Associate of Science in Education degree, designed to help education paraprofessionals meet the standards of the federal No Child Left Behind act, as well as improve their teaching skills.
“The Associate of Science in Education program presents an exciting new opportunity for students who work full time to enter the field of education and pursue a teaching degree,” said Dr. David Spittal, university president. “The beauty of this program is in its applicability to those who are already employed in school setting but desire to prepare for a career in teaching. The ASE program opens doors for working adults and helps to make the dream of a teaching career come true.”
The core general education curriculum includes humanities, sciences and social sciences to provide a solid foundation for professional studies, according to Dr. Ray Locy, director of Adult and Graduate Studies in education. There are 115 workshops, which take about two years to complete, he said. The curriculum is offered sequentially, one course at a time.
“The degree is designed to integrate a liberal arts core, foundational courses in early childhood education and practical applications that apply to the classroom or school environment,” he said. “It will give them some theoretical knowledge.
“This program has been created to accommodate paraprofessionals. All paraprofessionals have to meet the standards of the No Child Left Behind act. This is one way to meet those standards,” Locy said.
The No Child Left Behind act requires paraprofessionals to complete two years of study at an institution of higher education, obtain an associate’s degree, or meet a rigorous standard of quality and demonstrate knowledge of certain core subjects by January of 2006.
After earning an ASE degree, students can enroll in the university’s bachelor of science in education program and complete requirements for teacher certification in early childhood or elementary education, Locy said.
The first ASE students at Southern Wesleyan University started classes in March, according to Dan Holland, associate vice president for program operations.
In addition to its main campus in Central, Southern Wesleyan University has sites in Greenville, Columbia, North Augusta and Charleston. The new ASE degree is offered at the university’s Central campus and at the Greenville site.
“We intend to expand and offer the degree at other sites across the state soon,” Holland said. “Our sites are located in areas that are easy to reach. Our facilities around the state are easy to drive to.”
Convenience is the key to the program, not only with site locations, but in terms of course schedules, he said.
“Finding time and resources to continue education is a challenge. Juggling family, professional and social life is a challenge for a lot of people,” Holland said. “Our program is extremely convenient for the working professional. Our classes meet for four hours on one night a week, plus a study session.”
Since 1986, Southern Wesleyan University has offered degree programs designed specifically to meet the needs of working adults, Holland said.
“Many of our students have been out of school for many years. We use a team concept that assures students can help each other address classroom assignments,” he said. “These students want to get through the classes in the most expedient, efficient way possible, rather than having to attend two or three classes a week.”
The ASE degree program not only boosts students’ teaching skills, it can boost their morales, as well, Holland said.
“This allows paraprofessionals to work toward becoming full-time teachers and to improve their salaries,” he said. “This gives them the confidence to know that they can make a difference in the classroom and also be a role model from an educational standpoint, outside the classroom.”
In addition to its numerous traditional degree programs, the university offers the following degree programs: associate of science in education, associate of science in business, bachelor of science in business administration, bachelor of science in management, master of business administration, master of science in management and master of education.
For details, call 1-800-264-5327.