Still wearing his UMD shirt, Chris West admits he's not as proud of his daughter's school as he once was. Set to graduate in May under the university's new integrated elementary and special education program, his daughter wonders if an oversight will prevent her from getting the licenses she's been working toward for the past 4 1/2 years. The program essentially allows students to graduate with two teaching licenses, one for general education, one for special education.
"The fact that UMD is a public institution and no one has told us this is not an accredited program is ridiculous. A lot of us feel we should have known this from the beginning," West said.
In December, the first cohort to complete the program graduated, and within weeks came to Fox 9 frustrated by the delay in receiving their licenses. One student said by phone the license delay has already cost her a teaching job and was offered a para-professional position without benefits instead.
"I'm kind of just waiting for this to play out. It just makes it hard when UMD doesn't communicate with us," she said.
Erin Doan, executive director of the Board of Teaching, is working to help clear thing up for dozens of students who have been calling her. A standard review is underway, but it was supposed to happen years ago.
"The programs are supposed to be approved, and then launched. We shouldn't really be talking to students of a program that hasn't been submitted for approval," Doan said.
UMD admits in a statement received late Thursday the program was approved in 2011. Changes were made in 2012, and the proper documentation was not supplied by UMD to the Board of Teaching.
UMD told Fox 9 in another e-mail "the Department Head was taken out of her position a year ago. We've only know about the current issue since October and have been actively working to fix it since then."UMD statement
UMD's Integrated Elementary and Secondary Education program was approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching in 2011. Changes were made to the [program] in 2012, and the proper documentation was not supplied by UMD to the BOT. We sincerely apologize for this and take full responsibility for it.
The BOT has agreed to grant graduates a temporary licensure, which is good for one year. We are also working with the BOT to find a quicker solution as well.
Dr. Andrea Schokker
Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs