Topics: Teachers College, Administrative

February 16, 2010

A statewide transfer agreement easing the pathway to a potential teaching career for hundreds of Indiana residents was signed by the presidents of Ball State University and Ivy Tech Community College during a Feb. 16 ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse. The agreement allows Ivy Tech education students to transfer credits toward a Ball State bachelor's degree in elementary education. 

Effective July 1, 2010, a student completing the associate of science degree in elementary education at any of Ivy Tech's 23 regional campuses will receive up to 62 credit hours in transfer with Ball State when admitted to the university with a declared major in elementary education. The two institutions already enjoy the benefits of an articulation agreement covering Ivy Tech students who are enrolled in early childhood development programs and wish to continue their education and professional preparation at the university — one of 12 such 2+2 agreements executed between Ball State and Ivy Tech since 1997 and covering fields from business administration and criminal justice to nursing and social work.

With Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett looking on, Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora was joined by her counterpart, Ivy Tech President Thomas J. Snyder, in signing the latest agreement just outside Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' capitol office. Both presidents hailed the accord for opening doors of opportunity in education for scores of Indiana residents, particularly nontraditional students and working adults who already may be engaged as classroom assistants, child care providers or Head Start teachers. A major feature of the new agreement is a provision that allows (but does not require) students transferring from Ivy Tech to complete all of their remaining degree requirements from Ball State online.

"Many of these individuals may be single parents, people who don't live close to a university or others whose life circumstances, for whatever reasons, just don't allow them to pursue their educational goals in traditional ways," said Gora. "The online component of the program should be a great convenience for them, opening up new avenues for many of these individuals to become excellent teachers. We are pleased to join our colleagues at Ivy Tech in creating this educational and economic opportunity for scores of Indiana residents."

Overall since 2002, Ivy Tech has seen more than 2,000 students transfer more than 38,000 credit hours to Ball State. The college's education program was established in 2006 and this semester shows nearly 2,500 education majors enrolled throughout the state.
"Working together with our four-year partners is essential to ensuring that we meet the needs of Indiana's economy by providing a workforce that is ready for the jobs of the future via a seamless higher education system," Snyder said (the university also cooperates with Ivy Tech on the Connect Program, through which Indiana high school students initially denied admission at Ball State may continue to build academic credit at Ivy Tech toward an eventual guaranteed transfer to the Muncie campus). "Ball State is a leader in the field of education and together we are delighted to offer this opportunity to community college students around the state."

Hot job

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development listed elementary school teachers as one of its "Top 50 Hoosier Hot Jobs" in 2008. It estimates a 12 percent increase in schoolteacher employment through the year 2016. In addition, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has mandated that by 2013, at least half of the nation's Head Start teachers must have completed an undergraduate degree in education and obtained licensure.

"President Obama has increased Head Start funding nationally, which has enabled 48,000 more children to participate in Head Start programs nationwide. This increase will require 12,000 more teachers," observed John Jacobson, dean of Ball State's Teachers College. Although neither he nor James Stroud, chairperson for elementary education at Ball State, could predict how many Ivy Tech students may opt to take advantage of the new agreement, Jacobson believes the university making both the early childhood and elementary education programs available online eliminates many obstacles for persons who might not otherwise be able to complete an undergraduate degree with teacher licensure because of distance, family circumstances or other variables.

Stroud reported that Teachers College currently boasts about 1,400 declared majors in its nationally recognized elementary education program. Each is required to complete a total program of 126 hours in order to graduate and qualify for licensure as a teacher, he said, emphasizing that prerequisite is the same for all students be they online or campus-based. The program includes identical content in both situations. 

Established as a teachers college in 1918, Ball State today is a modern and comprehensive university offering a wealth of academic opportunities, including approximately 180 undergraduate majors and preprofessional programs plus more than 100 master's and doctoral degrees. With its focus on immersive learning that teams students and faculty with community partners to find real-world solutions to real-world problems, the university is committed to meeting the economic needs of the state through the education and preparation of an increasingly entrepreneurial-minded and media-savvy workforce. Its programs in accounting, architecture, landscape architecture, education, emerging media, entrepreneurship, music and nursing, among others, are consistently ranked among the best in the nation.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system with more than 130,000 students enrolled annually. It has campuses throughout Indiana and, like Ball State, serves as an engine of workforce development for Indiana, offering degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its host communities as well as courses and programs that transfer to other four-year colleges and universities in Indiana.