By Kyle Roberts
Friday afternoon at Woodard Hall saw a packed house of high school students that have identified their collective desire to take the mantle of the future teachers of tomorrow, thanks in large part to the College of Education at Louisiana Tech hosting the second annual Engage Education event as a means to give prospective students a glimpse of what the CoE offers to students.
“Engage Education is our recruiting event that we hold each year and to bring in high school juniors and seniors from around the state of Louisiana, primarily from our partner districts that we already partner with in our teacher preparation program,” Assistant Professor Dr. Dustin Whitlock said. “And so we bring in high school juniors and seniors. They identify if they’re interested in being an early childhood teacher, an elementary teacher or a secondary teacher, and they follow different sessions throughout the day that are led by our Louisiana Tech teaching candidates. And so those students are showcasing what it’s like to be a part of our program, the kinds of things that they learn about, the kinds of things that they do in their coursework, the kinds of things that they’re doing as they work towards teacher certification.”
Louisiana Tech boasts a total of 15 different partner districts. A majority of students who attended this year’s Engage came from places such as Winn Parish, Monroe City, and Webster Parish.
Jeanette Hinckley is a College of Education alumna and spoke to the value of the programs like Engage Education for generating relationships with prospective students.
“After attending Engage Education, I saw what an excellent program this is for prospective students,” Hinckley said. “By seeing how excited and engaged the faculty, staff, and resident teachers are, prospective students got a glimpse of how exciting being an education major can be. One key to alumni engagement is relationship building. If you can foster a partnership with graduates by inviting them to observe activities such as Engage Education, you can develop a lifetime supporter of the College of Education.”
Whitlock also spoke to the importance of these partner districts working with Louisiana Tech in order to shepherd in a new generation of teachers.
“These districts have realized is that their pipeline to hiring teachers starts with their own students,” Whitlock added. “There’s a lot of research that says that most teachers actually teach within 30 miles of where they went to high school. And so most teachers go back home to some degree. These these districts know that they can grow their own, in a sense, by bringing students here, building out relationships with the program. And they know that we train them well. That’s why they partner with us. And then we get to send them right back to them.”
Up next for the College of Education will be hosting its third “Living with Technology” lecture series on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 3 p.m. in Wyly Auditorium.
Featured panelists include: Prerna Dua (Louisiana Tech University; Psychology), Dr. Byron Lowens (University of Michigan), and Dr. Amml Hussein (Council on Social Work Education).
The event is a free and open to the public. The Living with Technology lecture series is sponsored by Jeanette and Justin Hinckley.
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