When Angelo State alumna Hannah Dodds was named a 2014–15 Texas Student Teacher of the Year by the Texas Directors of Field Experiences earlier this month, the honor was also a recognition of the dedication the faculty and students in ASU’s College of Education.
“The faculty in teacher education are very involved with their students,” said Dr. John Miazga, dean of the college. “We have multiple opportunities for our students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in public school classrooms. Our faculty work with our students in the public schools, as well in the classroom.”
“With our clinical teaching, also known as student teaching, we have supervisors who are professional educators from the public school districts—teachers, principals, superintendents and counselors—who work with our students and with the public school teachers,” he added.
A Wall native, Dodds earned her ASU bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with teacher certification in early childhood through sixth grade.
“I come from a family of educators,” Dodds said. “My love of teaching was discovered, not in college, but many years ago in a kindergarten classroom. I consider teaching more of a calling than a job, and I look forward to many years in the profession.”
After doing her student teaching at Wall Elementary School, Dodds joined the ranks of ASU education graduates working for the San Angelo Independent School District (SAISD). She is teaching second-graders at Glenmore Elementary.
The relationship of Angelo State with area school districts was emphasized in April when SAISD held its annual Teacher of the Year celebration and at least 18 of the 25 honorees were ASU alumni.
The college’s undergraduate teacher preparation programs also have earned national recognition by their respective national standards organizations for their excellence in educating future teachers. The Department of Teacher Education’s early childhood through sixth grade program has been awarded Nationally Recognized status by the Association for Childhood Education International, while the early childhood through sixth grade with special education program attained Nationally Recognized status from the Council for Exceptional Children.
These recognitions serve to inspire students, such as Taylor McDermott of Mansfield, a senior pursing teacher certification for early childhood through sixth grade with special education.
“I’m getting the kind of hands-on experience at ASU on how to teach and how to prepare lessons that I need to be a successful teacher,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to help people and I have a connection with kids, especially with special needs kids.”
ASU’s graduate education program has also received national recognition and is attracting a large number of students, including Dodds, who is enrolled in the Master of Education in educational administration program.
“I’m getting the kind of hands-on experience at ASU on how to teach and how to prepare lessons that I need to be a successful teacher.”
In January, ASU’s online graduate education program was ranked No. 30 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for its 2015 edition of “Best Online Programs.”
Such recognition has led to the graduate education program’s strong growth.
“In our graduate programs in particular, we have a good support structure of tenured faculty, instructors and adjunct faculty,” Miazga said. “Without those, we couldn’t work with the number of students we have in our graduate programs. Our goal is to have one point person for every 15 to 20 online students.”
ASU offers Master of Education degrees in curriculum and instruction, educational administration, guidance and counseling, and student development and leadership in higher education.
“I’m honored,” Miazga said, “to work with the group of professionals in the College of Education who are preparing our graduate and undergraduate students for careers at all levels of education.”