(Sept. 22, 2021) – North Carolina education leaders recently signed an agreement to address the critical teacher shortage in the state. President Thomas Stith of the NC Community College System NCCCS) and President Peter Hans of the University of North Carolina System made a joint announcement of their new Comprehensive Articulation Agreement that will increase opportunities for community college students to transfer to teacher education programs within the UNC System. It is effective fall 2021.
The Uniform Articulation Agreement in Teacher Education / Educator Preparation is focused on developing a seamless transfer for students who begin teacher preparation studies in the Associate in Arts in Teacher Preparation (AATP) and the Associate in Science in Teacher Preparation (ASTP) programs at a community college and then transfer to one of the educator preparation programs within the UNC System to complete a bachelor’s degree and become a licensed teacher in the K-12 system.
In Alamance County, educators are ahead of the game: Last January, a similar agreement called Alamance Scholars was signed by Alamance Community College (ACC), Alamance-Burlington Schools (ABSS), and Elon University. It called for the creation of a pathway from high school to community college to a bachelor’s degree in education for students with financial need from across a variety of backgrounds who desire to earn a degree in education and make an impact in Alamance County. A primary focus of the program is increasing the diversity of teachers in ABSS to better reflect the diversity of Alamance County’s student population.
Alamance Scholars starts this fall with the first ABSS students commencing the Teacher Cadet Program before moving on to ACC and then Elon University.
One of the strengths of the Alamance Scholars program is that it allows each of the partners to provide mutually reinforcing support to the candidates as they progress through the program toward their bachelor’s degree.
Said ACC President Dr. Algie Gatewood: “The timing of the statewide agreement is perfect. Our Alamance Scholars agreement opens doors even wider for many of our high-achieving, lower-income and racially diverse students, providing them far more choices and opportunities to become part of the legacy of great educators so badly needed as we move further into the 21st century. This new state-wide agreement with UNC is a wonderful opportunity, but I am proud that we in Alamance County were proactive last January in kicking off an opportunity for students from Alamance County to start here, learn here and teach here.”
The signing of the new agreements between UNC and NCCCS allows simplified processes and removes barriers for students to continue their education in North Carolina. “We appreciate this needed opportunity to better align with partners within the UNC System to accelerate student progress and support the teacher education pipeline in North Carolina,” said NCCCS President Thomas Stith.
“By creating intentional pathways from community colleges to the UNC System, we will be able to recruit and prepare more teachers for our growing state,” said UNC President Peter Hans. “Our goal is also to diversify and strengthen the teacher corps to benefit all students. This is a great day for education in North Carolina.”
The new articulation agreement for teacher preparation between the NC Community College and the UNC System is a powerful step forward. It helps ensure recruitment efforts and prepares the next generation of teachers through a high-quality pathway into the profession that begins just a few miles from home.