LCC, A&M International Initiate Community College Teaching Scholars Program

Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University have forged a partnership dedicated to helping potential teachers transfer from LCC into A&M International's teacher preparation programs.

The "Community College Teaching Scholars Program (CCTSP)," as the partnership will be known, is a Texas A&M University System proposal funded by the Houston Endowment. Additional matching funding and in-kind support will be provided by both the College and the University. The program is funded for four years.

The partnership was launched with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between both institutions' administrations on Thursday, Feb. 7.

The CCTSP will see the establishment of a jointly operated Teacher Development Center on the LCC campus to serve as an information hub and offer program support to community college students interested in pursuing teaching careers.

The Program will identify college freshmen and sophomores and will provide student performance incentives and transfer scholarships. To help ensure student success, LCC will work with high school teachers to align curriculums to ease student transition from high school to college.

The CTSP will also offer collaborative faculty development through the System's Academy for Educator Development.

Dr. Ramon Dovalina, LCC president, said the partnership is a natural progression for the college.

"Laredo Community College is committed to helping the State of Texas recruit and train qualified teachers. We took our first step towards this commitment by launching our Teacher Certification Program," Dovalina said, "Today, we are happy to take the second step, through a partnership with A&M International that will help LCC students transition to upper level courses on the road to certification," Dr. Dovalina said.

Dr. Ray Keck, A&M International president, said the partnership is critical to help avert the shortage of teachers in high-need areas and will elevate under-represented populations' participation in teacher preparation programs.

"This is a partnership which will offer our community and region the very tangible benefit of helping to insure that a qualified and capable corps of new teachers is readied for success in the classrooms of our shared futures. We believe that minority students will especially respond to the challenges and need of these future classrooms. With the support of the Houston Endowment and the vision of the Texas A&M University System, this CCTSP program enables us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our LCC partners who share our commitment to make sure these new teachers are recruited, supported and graduated to a successful life in what we all believe is the noblest profession of all, teaching," Dr. Keck explained.

Among objectives for the partnership are increasing the number of community college transfers pursuing teacher certification in high-need teaching fields; increase transfers pursuing teaching in urban school districts in Texas; increase number of minority students in community colleges pursuing teacher certification; the alignment of academic core preparation of potential teachers pursuing a community college associates degree and to provide a collaborative structure on the LCC campus to facilitate high quality, seamless teacher preparation programs.

The Teacher Development Center will be located in University Hall 211 on the LCC campus. Directing the Center will be Caroline H. Ruiz. The first student cohort of 20 students will be selected by this Spring.

For additional information on the Community College Teaching Scholars Program, an LCC-A&M International partnership, please contact Ruiz at the University's LCC Outreach Office in University Hall 211, or call 796.1975.

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