BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University’s School of Education ranks among the top schools in the state of Michigan for teacher preparation.
The designation comes from the Michigan Department of Education, which ranked Ferris’ School of Education as exemplary in its 2007-08 Report on Teacher Preparation Institution Performance Scores. Ferris was in line with peer institutions scoring 68 out of 70 possible points.
“This report shows we’re doing the right thing,” said Michelle Johnston, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, under which the School of Education is housed at Ferris. “Our students are excellent, and this report shows they are performing better than ever; their test scores have improved, and they are more hirable, competent young professionals.”
The report helps the state of Michigan identify how well students are prepared for their career as a teacher, School of Education Director Liza Ing said. It is an annual process that helps determine how well students know their content area and whether they have the pedagogy to be a teacher.
Results are tabulated from exit surveys of students upon completion of their student teaching experience, Ing said. Supervisor surveys also are conducted, with supervisors confirming the student teachers are well-versed in their content area, are comfortable with technology and are able to work well in the classroom.
“Student teaching is a vital component of the learning process,” Ferris Coordinator of Student Teaching and Field Experience Karen Baar said. “The focus is on field experience and really getting students to understand how to be a teacher.”
Each semester, Ferris places approximately 100 students in the field for a student-teaching experience. Most of those students are placed in local school districts, which have shown tremendous support for Ferris’ student-teaching process, Baar added.
Johnston and Ing noted collaborative efforts among professors in the School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Business also strengthen the learning process for students at Ferris studying to become teachers.
Faculty are continuously revamping curriculum to ensure the material taught is appropriate for the current academic environment for prospective teachers, Johnston said.
“We wouldn’t have a strong program without the colleges of Arts and Sciences, and Business,” Ing added. “Faculty there are teaching the majors and minors, and are continuously re-aligning and re-designing curriculum to meet ever-changing state standards. They work hard so our students can be successful.”
Degree options at Ferris for prospective teachers include associate, bachelor’s, graduate and certificate programs to prepare students for a career at the elementary, secondary or technical education levels. For more information about Ferris’ School of Education, visit www.ferris.edu/education and click on School of Education.