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Northland College Educator Prep Program receives national recognition

The Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education recently awarded Northland College a 2015 Model of Excellence Award for its clinical residency program.

Director of Teacher Education Annette Nelson accepted the award in February at the national conference held in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Nelson dedicated the award to the students who implemented and participated in the pilot program. Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Les Alldritt attended the presentation, extending his congratulations to the faculty and students.

Dr. Nelson and faculty initiated the residency program two years ago. “Students from around the state said they wanted more time in the classroom with the kinds of students they would teach,” Nelson said. “We responded with a two-semester clinical residency program integrated with classwork.”

Northland College created a concentrated block system where education students spend Monday and Tuesdays in school classrooms in the region and Wednesdays and Thursdays on the Northland campus. Students expressed appreciation for the mix of practical and theoretical instruction. “When you get in the classroom, you can see how it plays out,” said Kaitlyn Witthun, a Northland College senior and elementary and middle education major.

Students complete over 200 hours before they begin student teaching. “We are the only educator preparation program in the state to offer this much undergraduate time in the school classroom—double what the state requires,” explains Dr. Nelson. This intensive, focused clinical program, Dr. Nelson says, places Northland graduates at the top of the resume pile when applying for teaching positions.