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Top Teachers: How WilmU’s College of Education Delivers Excellence to Delaware’s Schools

A student teacher point at a workbook sitting next to a young male student.

For 10 of the last 12 years, the Delaware Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year has been a graduate of Wilmington University. It’s not hard to see why.

“One reason is that we provide so many of the teachers to Delaware’s classrooms!” remarks Alfred DiEmedio, director of teacher preparation programs in WilmU’s College of Education.

Indeed, more than 3,500 of the state’s elementary school teachers earned their bachelor’s or master’s degrees here. What’s more, about half of Delaware’s principals and assistant principals have studied at WilmU.

Take a look at our coursework and you’ll find more reasons. Our bachelor’s and master’s degree teacher preparation programs combine theory and practice to train students for elementary and middle school, secondary school, special education, or career/technical instruction.

“Knowledge-based courses are taken in conjunction with clinical coursework, such as classroom placements,” says DiEmedio, “allowing students to use the teaching skills they’ve developed in multiple hands-on opportunities to practice the trade.”

On any given school day WilmU sees about 1,000 of its teacher candidates learning on the job in classrooms throughout the region. This fieldwork includes our immersive Year-Long Residency program, the only course of its kind in Delaware and one of only a handful nationwide, through which student teachers spend an entire school year working alongside mentor teachers in select partner schools.

At both the bachelor’s and master’s level, these teacher preparation degree programs satisfy the Delaware Department of Education’s content knowledge requirements and can establish students’ eligibility for licensure and certification as educators in Delaware’s public schools, pending the successful completion of state-mandated performance assessment testing and application for credentials.

Graduates of the College of Education’s licensure programs have totaled up a 100% success rate in earning their teaching licenses and, once employed, they’re rated by their principals and supervisors as uniquely prepared to design and deliver effective learning experiences to diverse student populations.

 

WilmU also offers master’s degrees and graduate certificates that focus on specialized areas of education, including counseling, reading, teaching English to speakers of other languages, educational technology, and gifted and talented students.

The Master of Education in Special Education even enables college graduates who earned their bachelor’s degree in a field other than education, and thus haven’t completed the academic and fieldwork requirements for state licensing, to qualify for public school teaching jobs in Delaware through an alternative route to teacher certification.

Plus, all of our teacher preparation students enjoy the factors that have long made WilmU the choice of working adults: an affordable education, flexible schedules, and experienced faculty, all available right where they are.

“The quality of the instructors and the leadership from the school has been top-notch,” says Wendy Turner, Delaware’s 2017 Teacher of the Year and a 2010 graduate of WilmU’s Master of Education in Elementary Studies program. “The accessibility of the programs means the instructors and students are there because they want to be. Everyone genuinely wants to work hard to help you succeed.”

Sandra Hall, 2016’s Teacher of the Year, earned her master’s in Elementary Studies in 2007. “WilmU works for me because it changed my life,” she says. “I was able to raise my family, work, and go to school. The seven-week blocks allowed me to graduate in a timely manner without overloading my coursework.”

“I’d been in teaching for about 15 years when I decided to go back and get my master’s,” says Lea Wainwright, who studied applied technology in education at WilmU four years before she was named 2014 Teacher of the Year. “I needed to be smarter about technology if I wanted my students to be smarter about the world. Why Wilmington University? Because the scheduling is so flexible for teachers. They totally get teachers.”

Add it all up and it’s clear that WilmU provides excellence in educators to schools in Delaware and throughout the region. “We have shown that we can help people who want to be teachers to achieve their goals, regardless of their backgrounds or career

paths,” says Dr. John Gray, dean of the College of Education. “That’s our true mission, and why we’re so committed to it.”

For more information about WilmU’s College of Education and its teacher preparation programs, please visit wilmu.edu/Education.

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