Renata Kessler of West Orange, a retired public school teacher, was seeking a new challenge in her life, while Alice Terrell of Hillside was looking for a way to transition from teaching sixth graders to college-age students. They, along with three other adult students, have found a pathway for meeting their goals through an innovative community college teacher training program established by County College of Morris (CCM) and Drew University.
The five students are enrolled in Drew’s Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) program which now offers the opportunity to gain hands-on training teaching at the community college level at CCM. The Teaching in the Two-Year College Certificate program was established by CCM and Drew early last year as a model for creating a pipeline of graduates who are prepared to teach at the community college level. The students now interning at CCM are the first group to participate in the program.
As participants, each of the students this Fall Semester now is paired with a CCM faculty mentor and is interning as instructors at the college.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity. We’re teaching in college and getting to see it inside out,” said Terrell.
“My ultimate goal is to teach,” added Johanna Edge of Caldwell, whose professional experience ranges from retail and wholesale to her current position working in Drew’s library. “I hope to teach when I retire and this program is preparing me. We’re learning from some masters who have done this for a while.”
Lawrell Arnold of Yonkers, NY, a public school teacher in Rockland County, added that the program is going to help him both now and in the future. “I’m a middle school teacher and this is going to help me with my teaching now. This is really stretching me,” he said.
For Rebeccah Newman of Landing being at CCM is like a homecoming. As a high school student, she took part in CCM’s Challenger program, which offers high school students the opportunity to enrich their education through college-level coursework. A marketing consultant for the pharmaceutical industry, she believes teaching at the college level would provide her with greater personal satisfaction.
“There’s a different feeling in the classroom. I like the dynamic,” she said.
“Along with being prepared for research and scholarship, these students are learning the practical side of higher education from teaching to administration,” noted Professor William Day of the CCM English department, who is overseeing the program at the college.
The Teaching in the Two-Year College Certificate program, a concentration within the D.Litt. program, consists of four three-credit courses: an Introduction to Teaching in the Two-Year College, team taught at Drew by CCM and Drew faculty; two courses from the D.Litt. program; and the internship.
Photo: Drew University students interning as instructors at County College of Morris join their faculty mentors at the college’s Convocation on September 4. Pictured (l-r) are: Johanna Edge, Professor James Hart, Renata Kessler, Professor Stephen Levy, Rebeccah Newman, Professor Joseph Bilotti, Lawrell Arnold, Professor Philip Chase, Alice Terrell, Professor William Day and CCM President Edward J. Yaw.
Credit: Amy Sciuto