New 4-year Credential Helps Students, Addresses Teacher Shortage - Humboldt State Now

New 4-year Credential Helps Students, Addresses Teacher Shortage

A new, streamlined teaching credential program will help Humboldt State students earn a degree more quickly, and aims to address a teacher shortage affecting local communities.

An HSU student teacher interacts with students in a local classroom.
The redesigned Liberal Studies/Elementary Education (LSEE) program is based on current standards, research, and practice in teacher education, and is closely aligned with HSU’s strategic plan and the School of Education’s mission to develop knowledgeable, effective, and thoughtful teachers. The redesign is funded by a nearly $200,000 California Commission on Teacher Credentialing grant HSU received in 2016, and will begin in Fall 2018.

A shortage of credentialed teachers has caused problems for local and statewide districts. Last year, HSU led the formation of a council dedicated to reducing the shortage through recruiting and education.

The integrated LSEE program addresses the shortage in a number of ways. Students who commit to a credential program early on will be able to achieve a bachelor’s degree and a credential in four years—rather than the minimum five years under the previous program. This will reduce the cost of obtaining a credential for students and could increase graduation rates and reduce the number of students who choose to seek a credential out of the area after completing an undergraduate degree at HSU.

Earning a credential in four years also moves students into the workforce more quickly. This extra year of earnings—along with lower tuition costs—helps alleviate students’ financial burdens as well as the state’s teacher shortage.

The revised program will also increase hands-on education opportunities in local school districts, offering LSEE students more service learning and increasing their connections in the local community – which could result in more students seeking employment locally after earning a degree.

“This program is directly related to our strategic plan,” says Manohar Singh, Dean of the College of Professional Studies. “It will make students workforce-ready through community engagement and service learning, and increase their chances of success.”

Singh says he was pleased that the University Senate overwhelmingly approved of the program. He says this will make HSU’s LSEE program more competitive with other four-year institutions that have four-year credential programs. Drawing more students to study at HSU may lead to more teachers in local schools.

“The majority of local educators have earned their credential, or at least received some form of professional development and training through HSU,” says Humboldt County Office of Education Superintendent Chris Hartley. “I truly appreciate the University’s commitment to serve our local need for more teachers and educators by moving forward with the four-year LSEE program.”

Singh credited Hartley and Heidi Moore-Guynup of the Humboldt County Office of Education for their continued partnership with HSU to address community educational needs.