Saturday, December 4, 2004

HPU program addresses
Hawaii teacher shortage

The university is offering a graduate
degree in education

Hawaii Pacific University is launching a graduate education program to prepare teachers to work in middle and high schools, where demand for them is especially high.

"We are doing this to help alleviate the critical shortage of teachers here in Hawaii and on the mainland," HPU President Chatt Wright said Thursday.

"About 1,600 new teachers were hired by the state Department of Education last year," he said. "Hawaii-based teacher education programs were only able to supply 40 percent of those hires."

Students with bachelor's degrees will be able to earn a professional certificate in secondary education or a Master of Education in secondary education from HPU. The program will prepare teachers to be licensed in Hawaii and 44 other states in computer science, English, English as a second language, science, social studies or mathematics.

Superintendent Pat Hamamoto welcomed the move, saying it will give her department another place to "shop" for new teachers. She said it has been hard for the public schools to compete with the private sector for specialists in math and science, in particular, and she hopes the new program will draw more people into the teaching profession.

Hawaii's public schools hired 1,657 teachers in the 2003-04 school year, a 21 percent jump from the 1,363 hired the previous year.

Other teacher education programs are offered at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, University of Hawaii-Hilo, Chaminade University, Brigham Young University-Hawaii and the University of Phoenix.

HPU's classes will be held in the evenings and on weekends, with field experience at schools during the daytime. HPU is the state's largest private university, with more than 8,000 students.

"Teachers from the very beginning will be in the field, practicing what they are learning in the classroom," said Leslie Correa, dean of liberal arts at HPU.

The application process will start in the next few weeks for the program, which begins in the summer of 2005. Tuition is expected to be roughly $10,000 a year, Correa said.

He said the teacher education program should appeal to several groups:

» "Emergency hires" who are already teaching in public schools but are not yet licensed.

» People who already have baccalaureate degrees but need teaching credentials.

» People coming out of military service and taking part in the "Troops to Teachers" program.

» Students in undergraduate programs who want to become teachers and can get a jump start by taking graduate courses.

For more information, contact HPU's Center for Graduate Studies at 543-8034 or graduate@hpu.edu.

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