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Old Dominion University is among participants in an historic agreement between a group of Virginia colleges and universities and the community college system to address teacher shortages in Virginia and around the Mid-Atlantic region.

ODU President Roseann Runte will join her colleagues from nine other Virginia higher education institutions, along with Commonwealth Richmond-Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois, when the agreement is signed. The event will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, at Woodville Elementary School, 2000 N. 28th St., Richmond.

The partnership is expected to expedite enrollment into four-year institutions and get more highly-trained teachers through the college system and into school classrooms, officials said.

Students at Virginia's community colleges will have the opportunity to pursue a degree specialization designed to prepare students to qualify for admission to teacher education programs leading to bachelor's and/or master's degrees in early childhood, elementary, middle school education and selected areas of special education.

The senior institutions will participate in the program by agreeing to consider guaranteed admission to graduates earning an associate's degree and passing the PRAXIS I, the teacher licensure test usually taken after about 30 credit hours of coursework.

Along with ODU, the other institutions participating include George Mason, James Madison, Old Dominion, Radford, Virginia Commonwealth and Norfolk State Universities as well as Mary Baldwin College and Virginia Union University.

"A historic turnover is taking place in the teaching profession. While student enrollments are rising rapidly, more than a million veteran teachers nationwide are nearing retirement," DuBois said. "This partnership works to aggressively meet a critical need of the Commonwealth, and exemplifies the type of articulation and partnership that Governor Warner speaks about in his 'Education for a Lifetime Initiative'.

"This teacher recruitment problem, which has reached crisis proportions in some areas, is most acute in urban and rural schools. Experts predict that overall we will need more than 2 million new teachers nationwide in the next decade. The Virginia Employment Commission lists elementary teachers and secondary teachers on its compilation of the occupations with the most annual openings. Elementary teacher job openings number 1,659 per year with secondary teacher openings at 2,198."

This article was posted on: October 21, 2003

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.