ANTIGONISH: StFX University will be offering a Bachelor of Education (B. Ed) program on evenings and weekends next year aimed at Cape Bretoners who’re already working, and not necessarily in education.
Dean of Education Jeff Orr told The Reporter this will be the ninth, off-campus, part-time B. Ed cohort that StFX has offered in the last 15-years.
“It’s providing access to a group of individuals who are hungry to be teachers but just can’t get their circumstances to facilitate it,” Orr said. “About three years ago, we started with some of the Regional Centres for Education who were experiencing a considerable shortage of substitutes and teachers in particular areas.”
The original idea for developing these more flexible arrangements, he said, was co-conceived with First Nations and himself at a time where there was a need for helping teachers who had a provisional certificate in Mi’kmaq communities to gain credibility.
Last year, Orr indicated Susan Kelley, the executive director for Cape Breton-Victoria Centre for Education, approached them to development a cohort in Cape Breton in partnership with them.
“The need comes from the system and we always try to meet needs of the system,” Orr said.
The response, he said has been very good, having received expressions of interest from 15 different Cape Breton communities.
Orr explained courses operate one at a time, and usually spans over a course of three weekends with a couple of evenings, in about a six-week period, running from September to June.
“The courses run consecutively, so there’s only one course going on at a time, and we do one-third of a two-year program each year,” he said. “Additionally, we have four practicum experiences in there.”
Currently StFX is in the middle of receiving expressions of interests and will engage in the admissions process by interviewing candidates.
As for the structure of the Cape Breton cohort, Orr stated while decisions on health and safety are changing on a daily basis, other than this year when they pivoted to online with Chignecto and Tri-County because of COVID restrictions, they’ve run this program almost entirely face-to-face,
“And that’s our goal. We’re planning for it to be face-to-face but we have to wait and see,” he said. “Having said that we have a great group of faculty who’re very skilled at online learning.”
Orr suggested they know that having face-to-face interactions, especially for the B. Ed, where someone is doing a lot of hands-on group activity is the preferred method.
“But you have to be respectful to the virus.”
Anyone looking to receive more information on participating in StFX’s Cape Breton cohort of the B. Ed program, people are asked to contact Walter Duggan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (902) 867-3581.