USCB to Offer B.A. Degree in Elementary Education
The University of South Carolina Beaufort will offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education when the fall semester begins in August. The new academic program will provide educational support and practical experience to prepare its graduates to teach pupils in grades 2 through 6.
USCB thus becomes the only bricks-and-mortar university in the southeast region of South Carolina to offer an elementary education program. It complements the university’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education, which prepares its graduates to teach children from pre-school through grade 3.
Launching the elementary education program represents the final step in a laborious process that began in early 2011 when university officials started to draft the program planning summary. Over the next two years, the program was reviewed and approved by the university’s Courses and Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate, and then by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, the South Carolina Department of Education, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the regional accrediting body. The program received final approval in early May. The first cohort of elementary education students will enter USCB as freshmen when the fall term begins in mid-August.
The program’s faculty is already in place, consisting of Nancy L. Gallenstein, Ph.D., chair of the university Department of Education and accreditation and assessment coordinator; Renarta Tompkins, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Education; Jacqueline Batey, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Education; and Mary Hope Roseneau, M.Ed., instructor in the Department of Education ; field placement and LiveText coordinator.
University officials developed the academic program to meet the critical need for elementary school teachers in the Lowcountry, particularly in Beaufort and Jasper counties.
Martha A. Moriarty, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs & Institutional Effectiveness collaborated with Dr. Gallenstein, the Education Department chair, to develop the program and guide it through the approval stages. “We want to be able to home-grow our teachers,” Dr. Moriarty says. “We want them to start their education here; we want them to stay here; and we want them to give back to society right here in the Lowcountry.”
That’s one of the reasons why students in the Early Childhood Education program complete their practicum or internship assignments in elementary schools in Beaufort and Jasper counties.
“There are many teachers in our schools who are certified to teach through grade 3,” Dr. Gallenstein says. “Principals need their faculty to be able to teach beyond this grade level because that makes teachers more marketable and gives principals greater flexibility in planning teaching assignments.”
“This program represents the first step for anyone who wants to become a teacher,” Dr. Moriarty adds. “Students can enter the early childhood program or the elementary education program, depending on what age level they prefer to teach. This is particularly beneficial for students in the program who have indicated a preference for teaching grades 4-6. Some of those who enroll in the program will go into teaching immediately. Others will use it as a stepping stone to a master’s degree to attain a counseling or leadership position, or perhaps a position in administration or curriculum and instruction. But whatever career path they choose, it all begins with a bachelor’s degree at USCB.
University officials are confident the new elementary education program will be successful for many reasons. First of all, the demand is ever-present. Potential students continually contact the university seeking information about enrolling in an elementary education program. Secondly, the new program is unique to the region. It’s one of very few in the area. And then there’s the economic aspect.
“We offer the lowest tuition of all the state public institutions in South Carolina,” Dr. Moriarty says. “We offer in-state tuition to our students from Chatham and Effingham counties in Georgia, and we work with local school districts to fulfill their need for trained, educated, capable teachers for their faculties. We are truly drawing upon regional strengths to meet regional needs.”
For more information about the Bachelor of Science degree program in Elementary Education, contact the Office of Admissions at 843.208.8055.