Affordable Degree for Technology and Engineering Teachers Opens Opportunities to More Students
College of DuPage’s new 3+1 Technology and Engineering Education bachelor’s degree agreement with Valley City State University (VCSU) in North Dakota will provide students access to a teaching degree at a significantly reduced cost.
Students enrolled in the program, set to launch this fall, complete three years of classes at COD and one year at VCSU, the latter taught virtually. In addition, student teaching is completed at an institution local to the student. Students can choose between concentrations in automotive; construction; electro-mechanical technology; electronics; engineering drafting and design; graphic design; heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration; manufacturing; and welding. Graduates of the program will earn an Associate in Arts degree from COD and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree with a major in Technology Education and a STEM Certification from VCSU.
COD Associate Professor of Teacher Preparation April Zawlocki, Ed.D., said the agreement provides a new and revolutionary way to earn a teaching degree.
“This agreement is groundbreaking because it provides access to education for future technology and engineering educators who would not be able to pursue a teaching degree due to finances or location,” she said. “Students can earn an entire degree for what one year of higher education costs at other institutions.”
All of the core classes and approximately 50 percent of the concentration classes in the program are offered online. Zawlocki said this format provides flexibility and makes the program accessible to more students.
“Since there are so many courses offered online, including the entire fourth year at VCSU, it can fit into students' schedules and work for a variety of situations,” she said. “There are also six hours of dual credit that can be taken at local high schools, which further enhances opportunities for students.”
The program also is in line with initiatives the COD’s Teacher Preparation program has undertaken to support the technology and engineering pipeline.
“Technology and technical programs all over the state are having to shut down due to the lack of teachers,” said Zawlocki. “To tackle this problem, we have hosted professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers covering topics including engineering design, architectural design, robotics engineering, aerospace engineering and electrical engineering. Also, our collaboration with the Technology Education Association of Illinois has been extremely valuable in reaching potential technology and engineering technology education teachers across the state.”
COD President Dr. Brian Caputo said the program supports the College’s commitment to developing partnerships that help students advance their education and careers.
“COD is known among businesses and educational institutions for producing well-prepared students,’ he said. “We are pleased to partner with VCSU to provide students this opportunity to enter a growing industry.”
Zawlocki said the partnership is a clear indication of COD’s efficacy.
“This agreement with VCSU validates the quality of COD’s Teacher Preparation program and our ability to train superior future educators,” she said. “Between the excellent faculty in our Teacher Preparation and Career and Technical Education programs, as well as the first-rate facilities in the latter, students will be well-prepared to successfully complete their studies at VCSU and pursue a career in a field that desperately needs well-qualified employees.”
Registration is open for the College’s fall term, which begins Monday, Aug. 23, and includes a 16-week, 12-week and two eight-week sessions.