Purdue University Fort Wayne seeks to make a dent in the K-12 teacher shortage with five new licensure programs.
Three are Transition to Teaching programs, and the others are in high-need areas – speech-language pathology and elementary STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, the university said in a news release.
It noted Purdue Fort Wayne will be the first university statewide to offer an elementary STEM licensure program.
The Indiana State Board of Education approved the offerings Wednesday.
Each program will help the university develop qualified, excellent teachers while responding to the educator shortage, said Isabel Nunez, director of the School of Education and professor of educational studies at Purdue Fort Wayne.
“Our Transition to Teaching programs are specifically designed to help address the teacher shortage by offering a streamlined pathway for career changers who already hold a bachelor's degree,” Nunez said in a statement.
Prospective students can apply immediately and start as early as spring semester, the release said.
The new Transition to Teaching programs stemmed from a collaboration between the university and area school districts. They focus on special education, the elementary level and the secondary level, the release said.
Several districts have educators teaching on emergency licenses, the university said, and these and future teachers have an immediate need for alternative licensure pathways.
Emergency permits are temporary credentials issued at a school district's request in content areas for which the district has difficulty staffing with a properly licensed educator, according to the Indiana Department of Education.
Fort Wayne Community Schools, which is among Indiana's largest districts, had 86 original emergency permits issued in 2020-21 – the third highest in the state, according to the education department's annual licensing report. The top 10 also included the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend with 41.
Charles Cammack Jr., FWCS chief operations officer, said Purdue Fort Wayne's Transition to Teaching programs address areas of critical need, particularly in special education.
“We know people hear the calling to education at different times in their lives, and these programs will allow them to move from a non-education career into the classroom where they can make a difference in the lives of students on a daily basis,” Cammack said in a statement.
Purdue Fort Wayne said the programs should take a year to 18 months to complete. Go to pfw.edu/graduate-studies/apply to apply or request information at email@example.com, 260-481-6111 or www.pfw.edu/grad-info.