FPU introduces new teacher education program

Students save time, money becoming teachers with new ITEP program

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Future teachers can save a year going from sitting in a classroom to leading one of their own with Fresno Pacific University’s newest education initiative.

The Integrated Teacher Education Pathway (ITEP) combines the excellent preparation and reputation of an FPU education degree with a way to save time and money for new educators. The program is open to both students who begin their higher education journey at Fresno Pacific and those who transfer from community colleges.

“We are so excited to offer students the opportunity to save both time and money as they realize their dreams of becoming teachers,” says Whitney Wall Bortz, assistant professor of liberal studies and liberal studies program coordinator. “The Central Valley desperately needs quality trained teachers, and this pathway will prepare those teachers at a faster rate.”

Regular and transfer ITEP students alike start taking credential classes during their bachelor’s degree program and summer terms. Students who enroll first at FPU can earn their Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and multiple subjects teaching credential in four years instead of five in classes taught on the main university campus in Southeast Fresno.

Community college students transferring with either an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) in a similar pathway or with the required pre-requisites finish their degree and credential in two years, through either the traditional liberal studies program on the main campus, or the blended evening/online program based at FPU’s North Fresno and Visalia campuses. The second option will lead to a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts through the bachelor’s degree completion program.

Incoming students describe the advantages ITEP offers them.

“I wanted to make my dream of becoming a teacher happen as soon as possible,” says Alyson Lehner, a sophomore from Clovis who will also be a resident assistant. “This program allows me to get into the classroom a year earlier than the traditional route would and creates a more affordable option for completing both programs.”

Chloe Mortensen, a sophomore from Hanford and a member of the women’s soccer team, says, “The accelerated program allows for my soccer and academic scholarships to be used throughout the four years without the financial burden of having to spend an extra year on the teaching credential. I am excited to see where the new program leads my future and thrilled to have such amazing program directors.”

ITEP includes partnerships with the California Teaching Fellows Foundation, the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Fresno Unified School District and Visalia Unified School District. These agencies will help ITEP students find part-time jobs in schools, allowing them to earn up to nine months of credit for their work through an internship course.

This new pathway will be a game changer in getting a more diverse group of teachers into Central Valley classrooms, according to Laura Gonzalez, assistant professor of education, and director of the degree completion liberal arts program.

“It will be especially beneficial for students who’d struggle financially during the one-year credential program,” Gonzalez says. “We are hoping that between financial aid grants, our ITEP scholarship, job placement and the cost savings of completing both programs simultaneously, the financial burden during their credential year will be minimal.”

There is no application fee. Prospective students can learn more on the FPU website: Liberal Studies: ugadmis@fresno.edu; Liberal Arts: gdc.admissions@fresno.edu

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