Partnership with Cowley College will help meet the need for more Kansas teachers


Newman University and Cowley College have partnered for the Pathway to Teaching program, offering future educators an accelerated path to a teaching degree.

A memorandum of agreement was signed Aug. 8 following the grand opening of Cowley’s new education center in Arkansas City, Kansas.

The need for qualified, licensed teachers in Kansas is high and through this partnership, Cowley College and Newman University can provide an easier path for first-time students or adult learners to complete their degree.  

Newman’s Assistant Dean of Non-traditional Outreach Programs Jessica Bird said, “Teacher shortages are happening all across the state of Kansas — it’s not just affecting one area or another. By developing this partnership, we’re able to create more teachers and help fill the gap. The more we can reach out to these places and help them train and have quality teachers, the better off everybody will be.”

Julie Rhodes, director of education at Cowley College, and Jessica Bird, assistant dean of non-traditional outreach programs at Newman University

Newman’s western Kansas location has had similar partnerships for years that are benefiting the community.

Newman’s Dean of the School of Education and Social Work Cameron Carlson said, “This pathway and partnership will continue to help two strong education programs become even stronger through an open idea and personnel exchange. Through this partnership, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the students and their families who ultimately are the direct recipients of teacher preparation.”

Students in the program will have the ability to graduate from Cowley College in two years with an associate’s degree and then complete their Bachelor of Education degree at Newman in as little as 16 months, spending one year in the classroom and one semester student teaching.

Michelle Schoon, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs at Cowley, said, “Once students see a clear pathway, it’s a lot easier for them to be successful and to complete their pathway. You want to help them achieve their goal ultimately.

“I’m thankful that Newman University has been very proactive in taking education classes out to the public and to the communities where they might not have that opportunity,” added Schoon. “And we’re just really excited to be able to jump on board with that opportunity and to be a partner with them in this endeavor.”

Newman University President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., said, “What I’m thrilled about is the grassroots level of work that’s been done between Jessica (Bird) and Julie Rhodes (Cowley College director of education). They’ve done the hard work that it takes to try to truly articulate every course in a way that the students can find useful and beneficial to them.”



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