By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

An ongoing partnership between Southwestern Oregon Community College (SWOCC) and Southern Oregon University (SOU) offers Curry County students a pathway to a bachelor’s degree and an Oregon teaching license without having to move away from home.

Dawnel Magnuson – a Brookings resident considering the program – said she favored it because it offers classes at SWOCC’s Curry campus, and she expects she’ll be able to student teach in Brookings as well.

SOU officials confirm student teaching will be offered in Brookings.

Magnuson also liked that she can gain a license to teach while earning a second bachelor’s degree. She said this would allow her to access financial aid because the SWOCC-SOU satellite program is degree granting.

Classes offered in the satellite program can be attended at the Curry campus or through distance learning options offered there, according to SOU elementary education coordinator Susan Faller. She said general education courses and foundations of education courses offered through SWOCC are shared between the Coos and Curry campuses through virtual connections.

Other courses – those required later in the sequence – are taught by SOU faculty online or in hybrid courses, according to Faller. The courses lead to an Oregon license in three years, she said, adding that was important to provisional teachers who are hired on a temporary certificate and have three years to obtain a permanent license.

Hybrid classes are partially taught online, but students attend once-a-month Saturday sessions at SOU sites as well, Faller said, adding that dorms are available for $7 a night for students who want to be rested for class. Most students come over Friday night and leave after class on Saturday, she said.

“These classes allow for dialogue and questioning,” Faller said. “The teacher can model class management and other methods.”

The partnership only offers the elementary education certificate, she said. The secondary license requires too many subject focussed courses to be offered off campus. For example, a prospect for a secondary certificate in math would have to take a plethora of math courses along with the education classes.

SWOCC University Center Program and Academic Advisor Jaimee Belzer emphasized the collegiality of the program, saying the first group to complete the program will graduate this year, and they have taken many of their classes together, helped each other along and formed relationships.

As a resource advisor, she recommends the program to students and other advisors as a means to offer a degree to place-bound students.

“Many students in southwestern Oregon cannot move away to attend college,” Belzer said.

She noted she also recommends the satellite program because it leads directly to an Oregon certificate, whereas online programs often lead to out-of-state certificates that must be transferred to Oregon.

For more information about the SWOCC-SOU Satellite program, call Jaimee Belzer at 541-888-1518 or Susan Faller at 541-552-6916.

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