Gardner-Webb School of Education Launches Certification Program for Teacher Assistants

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‘TA 2 Teacher’ Offers Scholarships to Qualified Candidates

An image of a teacher talking to a teacher candidate in an elementary school classroom. Children are seated at their desks around them.BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Reports of teacher shortages are published in the news on a regular basis. A recruitment website for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Teach4NC, notes that the state has immediate needs for teachers at all teaching levels.

To address North Carolina’s need for elementary teachers, Gardner-Webb University is launching a new program beginning in Fall Semester 2019. Under the guidance of Dr. Prince Bull, dean of the School of Education, GWU is introducing “TA 2 Teacher” for qualified teacher assistants. This program is offered fully online, and includes a scholarship and other unique features for adult learners.

“We know that teacher assistants are the backbone of public education,” Bull states. “They are native to the district—born, raised and grew up there—and because of connections, they love education. For some reason, they missed an opportunity to be a certified teacher. In many districts, they serve as substitute teachers in the absence of the teacher. In some of the school districts, in the Title I schools, the teacher assistants have four-year degrees and in some districts, even higher. The pathway for that group of folks is shorter in terms of being credentialed as a licensed teacher, and so we have developed this program to address that need.”

Teacher assistants who are currently employed in a public school are eligible if they have a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or some college credits. A 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA) is required for admission to Gardner-Webb. Candidates will need a 3.0 GPA to be admitted to the teacher education program and maintain a 3.0 throughout their course of study. The tuition rate for qualified candidates will be reduced by $100 per credit hour for a total scholarship of up to $8,000.

photo of new School of Education Dean Dr. Prince Bull
School of Education Dean Dr. Prince Bull

The program’s unique feature is its support system for students. In addition to the course instructor, each candidate will have a school district mentor, an assessor and an advisor. The school district mentor will be a licensed, experienced teacher, who has been evaluated at the proficient level and is National Board Certified. “Gardner-Webb is going to pay the mentors a stipend,” Bull explained. “The mentor stays with the teacher candidate for the duration of the program. The role of the mentor is to translate theory to practice and to motivate the candidate to become a great teacher.”

The assessors will be GWU School of Education doctoral candidates, who are principals, assistant principals and other leaders. They will be paid to assist the class professors in evaluating the students’ work and can give additional insight from their experience in the field. “The goal is to provide detailed, constructive feedback in 36 hours after an assignment is due,” Bull noted. “We know the adult learners will be anxious about going back to school and want to know how they are performing.”

For more information about the “TA 2 Teacher” program, contact Donald Barringer at dbarringer@gardner-webb.edu, 704-406-4624 or Dr. Prince Hycy Bull at pbull@gardner-webb.edu, 704-406-4402.

To learn more about the Gardner-Webb School of Education, click here.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university, Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.