Teacher Preparation Program

The teacher education program at TNCC was implemented in 2003 to address a significant gap in pre- and in-service opportunities available to current and prospective teacher education students and teachers on the Virginia Peninsula. TNCC joined with ODU to fill this gap and address the shortage of teachers by developing programs for professional educators in sciences, mathematics, special education, elementary education (PreK-6), and social studies, These areas are identified by the Virginia Department of Education as critical shortages.

  • College Students: The articulations agreements at TNCC (and ODU) in teacher preparation include: PreK-6, PreK-3 with a concentration in special education, and secondary mathematics and science teacher education.
  • High School Students: The agreements also support a program for joint admission to TNCC and ODU for high school students in the cities of Hampton, Poquoson, Newport News, Williamsburg/James City and, York counties who are accepted into the teacher preparation program in science and mathematics. These students can complete their associate’s degree at TNCC and continue at ODU, without interruption, for their bachelor’s and teaching licensure. Similar arrangements are available to TNCC students interested in the science and mathematics teacher education programs.
  • Career Switchers: For information about career switchers, visit the Virginia Community College System’s Career Switcher website.

What is STEP?

STEP (Seamless Teacher Education Program) is a unique collaborative initiative in teacher education between Old Dominion University (ODU) and Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC. The partnership is jointly staffed and supported by both institutions. STEP addresses the dramatic need for new highly qualified teachers, and responds to Virginia’s critical shortage of 12,000 teachers and, in particular, the 800 per year, in Hampton Roads and the Virginia Peninsula.

The immediate goals established for the ODU-TNCC STEP collaboration are to increase the pool of prospective teachers graduating from the community college; provide expanded opportunities for high school, non-traditional, and returning students seeking careers in teaching; and provide seamless access for TNCC students to bachelor’s completion programs. Longer term goals include increasing the number of highly qualified graduates who teach in Virginia’s critical need areas, developing additional programs and transparent articulations for teacher education, and more access to master’s and doctoral degrees in education.

The articulation agreements between TNCC and ODU allow for a seamless transfer curriculum with equivalent courses; common prerequisites, content, and credit value; assessment of skills and interest; and early field study experience. These agreements assist TNCC students interested in teaching to complete the associate’s degree and transfer, seamlessly, to ODU’s Darden College of Education. The agreements identify baccalaureate requirements for the TNCC A.S. in social sciences, with specialization in teacher education, and for students desiring a PreK-3 in special education or PreK-6. In addition, a recently approved jointly-developed A.S. in secondary science education, now part of STEP, allows students to begin secondary science and mathematics at TNCC, seamlessly transfer to secondary programs at ODU, complete the bachelor’s degree, and secure licensure.

Student Support» Courses of Study in Teacher Preparation» Other Information» Applications»


Joan Fishman Hecht, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer
Director, Cooperative Teacher Education Programs, TNCC/ODU
Phone: 757.825.2928
Email: hechtj@tncc.edu or jhecht@odu.edu
Fax: (757) 825-3840

ODU and TNCC support a joint faculty position charged with teaching in and administering STEP, advising teacher preparation students, and recruiting new students. Information sessions are held four times a year and again during advising weeks. An ODU-funded part-time transfer student advisor supports TNCC students and staff with program information, course selection, and articulation support.

In addition, STEP students may be dually enrolled at ODU and TNCC without penalty to receive financial aid. They are also eligible for the VA Scholarship Loan Program and HETAP (Higher Education Teacher Assistance Preparation Program). Dually admitted students, accepted into the secondary mathematics or science education program, part of STEP, have access to the resources at both TNCC and ODU.