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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: July 7, 2003
Volume 38, Number 23

Farmington-based COE program educates Four Corners teachers

By Laurie Mellas Ramirez

The UNM Upper Division Teacher Education Program housed at San Juan Community College in Farmington has educated nearly 400 teachers - most who now serve the Four Corners region.

The program began as a partnership between the Navajo Nation, UNM-Gallup branch, Zuni Pueblo and state legislature as a three-year pilot program in 1992. Nearly concurrent, then-UNM President Richard E. Peck received a petition from the Farmington community requesting a teacher education program.

San Juan College supported the initiative, offering classrooms, office space and a part-time advisor.

Pat Stall, Ph.D., UNM-Gallup faculty, worked with the college to set up the program, commuting from Gallup to teach courses, hire faculty and coordinate. In fall 1994, Denise Corcoran was hired to administer the program. When the pilot program ended, the UNM College of Education took the helm.

“Our program has continued to grow,” Corcoran said. “Since fall of 1997 we have graduated 257 students and I would say we are close to having 400 graduates. We have three full-time and ten adjunct faculty.”

The majority of students earn lower division credits from SJCC before pursuing the UNM bachelor’s degree in elementary or secondary education. A master’s degree in elementary or secondary education has also been offered since the fall of 2002.

“Most students who enter our programs want to live and work in the Four Corners area. They complete the teacher education program and stay right here in the Four Corners, which is wonderful,” Corcoran said. “They can do their student teaching anywhere in the area.”

Adjunct faculty are drawn from elementary and secondary classrooms throughout the region. At UNM, 18-21 methods courses are offered at the undergraduate level each semester. Approximately four master’s level courses are now offered each semester.

Electives can be fulfilled for graduate credit through distance education, correspondence and summer institutes.

“We have a grant funded writing project in the summer for six graduate credits. All tuition and books for participants were paid by the grant this year. We are looking at bringing in a math and science institute next year,” Corcoran said.

Each fall students are admitted to the advanced degree program, which is designed for teachers who want to remain in the classroom.

“The master’s degree is for teachers who love teaching and who want to learn better methods and share best practices,” Corcoran said. “We are starting to see those who finished the undergraduate program enter the graduate program. It’s very exciting.”