New Wichita State partnership with Butler will help critical teacher shortage | Butler Community College
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New Wichita State partnership with Butler will help critical teacher shortage

Butler student with arms crossed
Photo: Rodney Dimick
Published: Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

“Together, we will provide quality learning experiences to help build tomorrow’s teachers.” -Casey McGraw, Butler Community College lead education instructor

A new Wichita State University initiative is aimed at addressing the critical shortage of educators in special education and elementary classrooms.

The initiative, called Teacher Education Pathways, recently received $97,000 from the Kansas Board of Regents. 

The grant funding will allow the College of Applied Studies’ Teacher Apprentice Program (TAP), elementary education and early childhood programs the ability to get Teacher Education Pathways off the ground. 

The new program — which will start in fall 2023 — will provide smoother pathways for students pursuing Kansas licensure in elementary education and early childhood. WSU will collaborate closely with Butler Community College and WSU Tech to establish a new scholarship and pathway for undergraduates seeking initial teacher licensure. 

A key highlight of the program is the introduction of scholarships designed to support high school students, Butler and WSU Tech students, as well as incoming WSU transfer students interested in a teaching career. 

The initial scholarship will be aimed at Kansas high school students to cover the cost of the introduction to education course at Butler or WSU Tech. 

The second line of scholarships will be awarded to WSU transfer students from Butler or WSU Tech, who can apply for the $1,000 Shocker Teacher Scholarship specifically for students in the TAP, elementary education or early childhood programs at Wichita State.

CAS Assistant Professor Dr. Julie Thiele, who is leading this initiative for WSU, says Wichita State is poised to make an even more significant impact on teacher education by creating these new opportunities for aspiring educators.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant to collaborate with Butler CC and WSU Tech to strengthen the pathways from student to teacher and address the critical vacancies in special education and elementary classrooms,” she says. “Our aim is to provide a quality education for all students."

Casey McGraw, lead education instructor at Butler Community College, says she’s excited for this new program and its benefits. 

“We are ecstatic to start this partnership with WSU that gives future educators the opportunity to get a jump start on their careers in this most crucial field,” she said. “Together, we will provide quality learning experiences to help build tomorrow’s teachers.” 

Dr. Jennifer Seymour, vice president of General Education and Applied Technologies at WSU Tech, says the partnership will greatly benefit students by providing foundational knowledge that will prepares them to transfer to WSU and complete their education. 

“The funds from the grant will help offset some of the out-of-pocket expenses for students, making it easier for them to persist to graduation,” she says.