The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI, Kirkwood Community College create pathway for next generation of elementary education teachers

The pathway allows students to earn their associate degree at Kirkwood and then swiftly apply to the UI to complete their bachelor’s degree.
Shaely Odean
The Kirkwood Community College Regional Center at the University of Iowa is seen on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.

The University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College started a partnership in August 2023 that provides a seamless transition between the two schools for students seeking elementary education licensure.

Mark McDermott,​​ associate dean for teacher education and student services in the UI College of Education, and Amanda Humphrey, dean of social science at Kirkwood Community College, have helped facilitate better access to education by providing students a path to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Humphrey said many liberal arts students at Kirkwood will earn their associate degree, an undergraduate degree typically taking two years, with the intention of transferring to the UI to earn their bachelor’s degree.

Through the new partnership, Kirkwood students can apply for admission into the UI’s College of Education at the end of their second year. For students specifically interested in studying elementary education, the partnership allows them to take specific and foundational education courses that help with their admission to the UI, Humphrey said.

McDermott said Kirkwood students would apply as transfer students into the College of Education and apply into the teacher education program, or TEP, through a separate application process.

“We want to make sure that students have a clear path to work their way through Kirkwood and then be able to seamlessly transition into the elementary education program here at Iowa,” McDermott said.

At Kirkwood, students fulfill their general education requirements and take foundational education courses, Humphrey said.

Humphrey said students will take classes, such as teaching topics in education, developmental psychology, foundations of education, and behavior management courses among others to earn their associate degree.

McDermott said the UI’s elementary education bachelor’s degree requires a total of 120 semester hours, 60 of which will be earned at Kirkwood, and the other 60 earned at the university.

Humphrey said the cost of earning an associate degree at Kirkwood comes to about $13,000 for the two-year program. At Kirkwood, a single semester hour costs $210, whereas the UI charges $376. The partnership aids students financially as well.

McDermott said this will also help address the teacher shortage as it will incentivize more thinking about teaching as a profession.

“We want the program to be thorough and rigorous, so these students feel prepared to enter the teaching profession,” McDermott said.

McDermott also said it is important to get teachers licensed and develop teachers who are going to be retained in the profession itself.

RELATED: Program at Iowa City schools aims to address teaching shortage

“That is why we want our program to be as rigorous as it is; it truly prepares them for what the teaching program is,” McDermott said.

McDermott said Kirkwood and the UI have put a lot of time and effort into this pathway, making it truly beneficial for students.

“In the teaching industry, we need people who are committed and are passionate about helping students learn,” McDermott said. “To do that, we need people who are committed to studying, whichever pathway they take in teaching.”

Humphrey said anyone who is interested in entering the elementary education profession — or teaching in general — should enter the field, because they will walk in every day knowing they are making a difference.

“Education is a calling and there is no better field for someone who is smart, caring, and wants to do service for their community,” Humphrey said.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Shreya Reddy, News Reporter
Shreya Reddy is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Coming from a small town in Kansas, Shreya is double majoring in English and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Before coming to the Daily Iowan, she has written for her neighborhood magazine and her schools literary magazine as well as writing an investigative journalism piece.
Shaely Odean, Photojournalist
Shaely Odean is a transfer student at the University of Iowa, currently in her third year. She is pursuing double majors in Journalism and Strategic Communications, as well as Sustainability Sciences. Shaely works as a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan, and her passion lies in environmental issues. Before joining the University of Iowa, she attended Kirkwood Community College, where she served as the photo editor for the Kirkwood Communique.