The University of South Alabama began offering courses in education a year after it was founded in 1963 and established the College of Education (COE) in 1967. Since then, the COE has grown to be the second largest college on campus, serving nearly 2,500 students annually or nearly 20% of the overall enrollment at the University. The main purpose of the College is to prepare future professional educators through programs that lead to the initial and certification of teachers at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, the COE offers graduate programs that provide for the continuing preparation of teachers and that prepare professionals for other positions as administrators, counselors, reading specialists, library media specialists, and psychometricians. The doctoral program leads to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Instructional Design and Development and is the only program of its kind in Alabama. Overall, the College’s programs comprise the largest graduate enrollment of any college on campus or more than 40% of all graduate students at the University. The College is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and by the Alabama State Department of Education.
The GulfCoast Leader in Preparing Professional Educators
Our 69 full-time faculty provides more programs of study and graduate more educators to work in Alabama schools than all other colleges of education in the region combined. The number of our graduates annually surpasses all but a very few universities in the state. Over the past five years, the faculty have authored more than 250 professional publications and secured nearly seven million dollars in grant funding. Recognized as leaders in their disciplines, faculty hold office in regional and national professional organizations and are shaping the future for education in Alabama through their participation in nationally-recognized innovations such as the Alabama Reading Initiative, the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative and the Mobile Math Initiative. In addition, the College has taken the lead in establishing the University’s distance education program, USAonline, and routinely offers nearly 40 web-based courses to more than 500 students annually. Recent advances in the use of videoconferencing capabilities promise to make the College a leader in the use of this technology to enhance learning and collaboration.
Partners in Education
The COE has a strong relationship with personnel in partnership schools throughout the region. This collaboration enables faculty to plan and implement learning experiences for new teachers, provide professional development for experienced educators, and engage in research on teaching and learning. A newly implemented program of induction and mentoring for first year teachers, and a pilot program in special education with area schools are helping to support internship supervision, early engagement in field-based learning experiences, and the continuing professional development of teachers at critical junctures early in their careers. In collaboration with colleagues in Arts & Sciences, the COE has recently proposed the development of a Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics to ensure high quality math and science instruction for the youth of Alabama. In another initiative, the COE has taken the lead on campus in developing a proposal to fund Mobile: CARES, a collaborative among the public schools, the University, and local law enforcement and mental health agencies to “create access to resources for every student in the county.” Other collaborations involve the COE with local schools and the Medical School to provide tutoring services to students who experience difficulty passing the Alabama High School Graduation Exam or who are preparing for the CRT, Mobile County’s standardized test of academic achievement.
A Commitment to Life Long Learning
The University is dedicated to the promotion of lifelong learning and to the enhancement of access to education for a variety of individuals and communities. Through its sponsorship of the South Alabama Research and Inservice Center (SARIC), the COE provides professional development to 7,000
K-12 educators in the six county area, while the Innovation in Learning Center (ILC) provides public school and university faculty ongoing professional development for the improvement of instruction. The recently established Educator-in-Residence Program supports practicing school-based professionals to participate in University research, professional education, and program development as a visiting faculty member while providing critical insights for university faculty into the real world experiences of practicing professionals.
Improving our Community
Like all programs at the University, the COE was founded upon the basis of a reciprocal relationship between the institution and the community it serves. The preparation of high quality teachers is central to enhancing the economic development of the State and our faculty members are committed to helping every child to become an effective citizen. The Mobile and Baldwin county public schools are the largest employers of our graduates and the COE is the largest preparer of their employees. With more than 80% of their professional employees holding at least one degree from the University of South Alabama, it is safe to say that virtually every public school child in the Gulf Coast has been affected by the high quality of instruction provided by the graduates of our programs. Our graduates possess a broad knowledge of instructional strategies they apply in a variety of ways to help all children to learn. The applications include the use of instructional technology to introduce information to students, to use information to assist students in learning new concepts and skills, assessing learning achievement, and managing classroom data.
Addressing Student Needs
Increase access to education, especially in critical areas, for persons from underrepresented groups; Coordinate recruitment, supervision, and mentoring of students, especially from
underrepresented groups, more effectively across the College and with our educational partners;
Improve the quality of student life and the College atmosphere by improving the overall quality of instructional facilities and equipment, including access to facilities for persons with disabilities; Increase faculty and student socio-economic and ethnic/racial diversity to more closely resemble the demographics of the communities we serve.
Improving the Capacity of the College
Initiate a faculty recruitment plan to increase faculty socio-economic and ethnic/racial diversity to more closely resemble the demographics of the communities we serve; Recruit faculty in targeted areas of need, especially special education, multicultural education, math, science, health and wellness, and instructional design.