Reconciliation at Work in Urban Education


Students

By Frank Kline, Professor of Education, Seattle Pacific University

 

Last fall, the John Perkins Center at Seattle Pacific facilitated a new relationship between Seattle Central Community College (SCCC) and Seattle Pacific University.

 

Over the school year, a team from SPU (Assistant Professor of Education Sharon Hartnett, Max Hunter, and I) collaborated with Dr. Tony Ogilvie and Lisa Saunders from SCCC.

 

These efforts culminated, last spring, with both schools entering into a premier cooperative agreement for the purposes of assisting transfer students from SCCC to SPU in the area of teacher education.


A Cord of Three Strands


The vision for this agreement includes three different strands. First of all, there is the financial-aid strand. If a student from SCCC meets certain requirements, SPU will arrange for a financial-aid package that will fully fund the tuition for their last two years of study. This package includes scholarships, grants, and work study — but it doesn’t include any loans! There is also the possibility of even more scholarship support if the student wants to teach in shortage areas.


Another strand of the vision for transfer has to do with how well the program at SCCC fits with the program at SPU. In order to tackle this question, faculty from both schools sat down and reviewed the various requirements. Through a collaborative process of negotiation and review, they settled upon a course of study at SCCC that will fit well with both the major requirements and the teacher education requirements at SPU. We also developed advisement tools to assist in the clear communication of these various paths to the students making the transfer. Because of the intricacy of the program, students are encouraged to begin advising with both institutions just as quickly as possible.


Supporting Aspiring Educators


The third strand of the transfer vision is social in nature. We quickly realized that simply providing the funds and the program without some attention to quality of life issues would not lead to the maximum success of our students. Thus, we have been working with the various aspects of the student life programs at SPU to make sure that there are multiple entry points for transfer students from SCCC. We have identified clubs, ministry opportunities, mentoring relationships, and other types of opportunities to maximize the opportunity for success of SCCC students as they move into the SPU community.


A Holistic Approach


The aim of this comprehensive holistic vision is to encourage students at SCCC who are interested in becoming teachers to consider the program at SPU. Though leveraging the already existing resources of the university, we have been able to identify financial, programmatic, and social support. We look forward to building bridges with other two-year campuses to increase the number of educational leaders from our local communities.


AuthorFrank Kline, Ph.D., is a professor of education in the School of Education at Seattle Pacific University. He has been at SPU since 1996.




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