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Texas A&M-Commerce To Award Graduate Credit To Collin County College District Teacher Certification Program Students

SEPTEMBER 5, 2001 - Officials from Collin County Community College District (CCCCD) and Texas A&M University-Commerce signed an agreement which will award a minimum of nine semester hours of graduate credit to students enrolled in CCCCD's Teacher Certification Program. The August 29 signing ceremony, which took place at Texas A&M University-Commerce, will benefit students in their pursuit of a master's degree.

"From what we understand, this is a first-of-its-kind agreement in the nation," said Cary A. Israel, CCCCD president. "The United States is experiencing a serious teacher shortage, which I consider a critical public policy issue. The partnership we have forged today is in direct response to the demands of our community. We need to build more collaborations in Texas and throughout the nation, because these kinds of agreements will attract more students to higher education."

The agreement will provide a bridge from CCCCD's Teacher Certification Program to graduate degrees in secondary and higher education or industrial technology at A&M-Commerce. Credit will be awarded to students who have successfully completed CCCCD's Teacher Certification Program, passed the appropriate ExCETs (the state licensure exam required for all those seeking certification in Texas), been admitted to an A&M-Commerce graduate program in secondary and higher education or industrial technology, and have completed any necessary additional requirements. Moreover, the agreement extends the partnership further. Texas A&M-Commerce will offer courses at CCCCD so that students will be able to complete their graduate degrees in Collin County.

"The Collin County Community College District and Texas A&M University-Commerce are two institutions on the move. This cooperative venture involving teacher education is a team effort that will benefit the citizens in the region and the state," said Dr. Keith D. McFarland, president of A&M-Commerce. "We at Texas A&M University-Commerce are excited to be involved in this program with the Collin County Community College District."

CCCCD became the first community college in the nation to offer a teacher certification program when it opened the Center for Teaching, Learning and Professional Development at CCCCD@Allen in Fall 2000. The state of Texas initially gave the college district permission to prepare teachers in technology education. Since that time, CCCCD has gained approval by the State Board of Educator Certification to expand its offerings to nearly 20 subject areas. This summer, the U.S. Department of Education also recognized the program when it awarded CCCCD a $689,387 grant for a three-year project, Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3). The PT3 project will assist CCCCD's teacher certification program in addressing the new state technology standards for teachers that require the integration of technology into the classroom.

"The CCCCD Board of Trustees is committed to forming strategic partnerships that will benefit the community," said Sam Roach, chairman of the CCCCD Board of Trustees. "The agreement we signed today takes a significant step in addressing the crucial need for teachers. Our collaboration with Texas A&M-Commerce will lead the way for other colleges and universities."