UNF launches Veterans to Teachers certificate program

by | Oct 6, 2022

 

  • The University of North Florida (UNF) is launching a new Veterans to Teachers degree pathway to accommodate former members of the military looking to enter the education field 
  • Two certificate paths will be offered with one placing a focus on research while the other provides fundamental pedagogical foundations
  • Pathway programs were developed by UNF faculty in its Department of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum to tailor courses to real-world practicability 

The University of North Florida (UNF) College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) is launching a new Veterans to Teachers program. The move comes just months after Gov. Ron DeSantis publicly endorsed the “Military Veterans Certification Pathway” initiative.

The university will offer two different certificate paths. The Graduate Certificate in Teacher Inquiry provides foundational experiences in inquiry and curriculum to engage in action research with their own communities of practice, while The Graduate Certificate in Advanced Secondary Instruction provides advanced coursework in curriculum and instruction for secondary teachers. The latter pathway focuses on enhancing the pedagogical and curricular skills of teachers across content areas.

“The University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services has created a new Veterans to Teachers program that is currently enrolling veterans who are wishing to gain graduate-level teaching certificates,” the university states. “These course certificates and programs have been developed by UNF Department of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum faculty to provide veteran educators with the skills needed to succeed in the classroom.”

UNF is also in the initial stages of developing a certificate for veterans without bachelor’s degrees in accordance with DeSantis’ certification pathway.

“In Florida, we are leading by example with innovative teacher recruitment initiatives and in our support of military and veteran families,” said DeSantis. “These proposals and actions will create new avenues for veterans … to excel and continue to serve their communities while building meaningful careers. We are able to make these important actions because we understand that having great teachers in our classrooms will help us develop great students.”

In August, the Florida Board of Education considered a rule to formally implement a program for veterans to receive a five-year temporary education certificate while they finish their bachelor’s degree, provided they meet certain criteria. This rule implements SB 896, which DeSantis signed earlier this year after it received unanimous bipartisan support through the 2022 Session.

The criteria former servicemembers must meet in order to obtain a teaching license is a minimum of 48 months of military service with an honorable or medical discharge, a minimum of 60 college credits with a 2.5-grade point average, passing scores on a Florida subject area teaching examination, employment in a Florida school district, including charter schools, and a clean background screening.

According to the law, those who earn a temporary certificate must be monitored for at least two years by a more experienced education professional. The supervisor is required to possess a current teaching certificate, have at least three years of experience in classrooms, and receive the state’s top performance review marks.

The law was signed in an attempt to mitigate Florida’s shortage of teachers ahead of the new school year. As the new academic school year is underway in Florida’s public schools, experts estimate approximately 10,000 vacancies in classrooms.

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