The teacher education program at Thomas Nelson was implemented in 2003 to address a significant gap in pre-service and in-service opportunities available to current and prospective teacher education students and teachers on the Virginia Peninsula. Thomas Nelson joined with Old Dominion University to fill this gap and address the shortage of teachers by developing programs for professional educators in sciences, mathematics, social studies, elementary education (PreK-6) and special education. These areas are identified by the Virginia Department of Education as having critical shortages.
- College Students: The articulations agreements at Thomas Nelson (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 Thomas Nelson 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 Thomas Nelson and continue at ODU, without interruption, for their bachelor’s and teaching licensure. Similar arrangements are available to Thomas Nelson 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. 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-Thomas Nelson 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 Thomas Nelson 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 creating more access to master’s and doctoral degrees in education.
The articulation agreements between Thomas Nelson 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 Thomas Nelson 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 Thomas Nelson 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 Thomas Nelson, seamlessly transfer to secondary programs at ODU, complete the bachelor’s degree, and secure licensure.
ODU and Thomas Nelson 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 Thomas Nelson students and staff with program information, course selection, and articulation support.
In addition, STEP students may be dually enrolled at ODU and Thomas Nelson 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 Thomas Nelson and ODU.
Courses of Study in Teacher Preparation
- AS Degree in Social Science (with a specialization teacher education) (pdf)
- AS Degree in Science (with specialization in education) (pdf)
- Bachelor of Science-Interdisciplinary Studies Teacher Preparation Concentrations (PK-3 and PK-6)(Old Dominion University)(pdf)
- Virginia Department of Education
- Virginia Teaching Scholarship Loan Program
- Routes to Licensure in Virginia (pdf)
- Critical Shortages Teaching Endorsement Areas
- Old Dominion University Teacher Education Services
- Teach Virginia
Joan Fishman Hecht, Ph.D.
Director, Cooperative Teacher Education Programs, TNCC/ODU
Email: *protected email* or *protected email*
Fax: (757) 825-3840