June 2, 2023 — Stephen F. Austin State University has partnered with Panola College to offer the Panola Pathway with SFA, which will allow students to expand on their associate degree to eventually earn a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from SFA.
The program, slated to begin its inaugural courses this summer, is pending approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
In this unique distance-learning education program, students who earned an Associate of Arts in teaching from Panola College will enroll in SFA courses taught online or on the Panola campus to eventually earn a BSIS from SFA. This program will also prepare students to sit for the Texas teaching certification exams.
“It’s important to create pathways toward teacher certification that remove barriers for students,” said Dr. Jannah Nerren, chair of SFA’s Department of Education Studies. “There is a nationwide teacher shortage that creates an urgency for bolstering the teacher pipeline. We believe in the power of a university-prepared teacher and want to work with our community college partners to provide pathways that produce high-quality teachers while understanding and creatively overcoming some of the barriers students face.
Though primarily online, the program will offer at least one face-to-face course per semester on the Panola Collage campus beginning fall 2023. Students will choose between two concentrations — early childhood through grade 6 or 4-8 middle-level education. Students will also have six different areas of content focus to choose from, including core subjects EC-6; core subjects 4-8; English, language arts and reading 4-8; math 4-8; science 4-8; and social studies 4-8.
“Students will have the advantage of a distance education program with face-to-face support in their home area,” Nerren said. “There are many community college and university partnerships, but this one is unique in that SFA classes and certification testing support will be offered on the Panola College campus.”
Throughout the program, students will be exposed to field-based experiences and complete field hours, which are hours spent in Texas prekindergarten through 12th grade classrooms to provide hands-on, authentic experience with teaching.
Interested students will need to apply to SFA through the Apply to SFA page. Then, they will be prompted to send an email to Dr. Susan Reily, associate professor and program coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the certification path they are interested in pursuing and request additional information about applying for the Panola Pathway to SFA program. Once completed, candidates can begin enrolling now in summer 2023 online courses.