Tennessee Tech University's 2+2 program in partnership with Roane State and Pellissippi State community colleges equals one great way to train new educators in light of a growing teacher shortage.
"The 2+2 program is a grow-your-own approach because it attracts geographically-bound students in high teacher shortage locations and helps them get licensed to teach more easily by providing university classes at the participating community colleges," said Darrell Garber, TTU's Dean of Education.
Higher student numbers combined with class size reductions have contributed to Tennessee's teacher shortage, and the education systems most affected by the shortage — both nationwide and statewide — are those in extreme rural or urban settings, Garber said.
Recent studies also show that Tennessee's supply of teacher candidates are regional and that graduates tend to be hired in systems close to their home college or university.
"That's why it's important to attract these geographically-bound students," he said. "It helps make teaching a more feasible option for those who can't easily leave their rural or urban homes."
The program got its start in the mid-1990s, when TTU education classes were made available to students, freshman through junior level, at the Crossville campus of Roane State Community College.
"Only the senior level students participating in the program had to come to TTU for their classes," Garber said.
Later this fall, the program is expected to become entirely self-contained at both the Crossville and Oak Ridge campuses of Roane State and the Oak Ridge campus of Pellissippi State, and next fall, it will grow to include the campus of Cleveland State near Chattanooga.
Tennessee hired approximately 5,035 new teachers between 1994 and 1999, and 3,993 more new teaching positions are projected through 2004.
For more information about the 2+2 program, call TTU's College of Education at 931/372-3124.