Newman U. Western Kansas to offer
early childhood education degree
WICHITA -- Western Kansas residents who wish to earn a teaching degree or build on an existing elementary education degree will now have the ability to do so without leaving their hometowns, thanks to a new early childhood education degree program to be offered by the Newman University Western Kansas Center. The degree program, called the Early Childhood Unified Education degree (ECU), is designed to prepare teachers to work with young children from birth through third grade. The program will be built around the existing Elementary Education degree program already offered by the Newman Western Kansas Center, and requires an additional semester (16 credit hours) of coursework for students to earn dual licensure. Area residents already holding an education degree and teaching license may need only the additional 16 hours to earn their early childhood education licensure.
“This program is a great way for people to earn or finish their degree without having to leave the community where they live and work,” said Newman Director of Western Kansas Center Education Programs Bonita Green. “Classes are offered at night Monday through Thursday, and it only takes sixteen months including student teaching to complete the Elementary Education degree, and an additional semester to complete the Early Childhood degree.”
Classes for the new program will begin this fall. The new program will be available in all locations where Newman currently offers classes, including Dodge City, Garden City, Great Bend, Hutchinson, Liberal, Pratt, Ulysses, Scott City, Syracuse, and Sharon.
Newman officials said the new degree option was developed in response to a growing demand for certified early childhood educators and for teachers with a combination of early childhood and elementary education certification. Green pointed to the Bright Beginnings Early Childhood program in Dodge City, where teachers have voiced a need for early childhood education programs. In addition, Dodge City USD 443, Garden City USD 457, Dodge City Community College, and Garden City Community College officials have offered their support for a Newman early childhood program.
The new ECU program will be part of the existing Teacher Education Program (TEP) offered by the Newman University Western Kansas Center. Residents who have completed general education requirements at a community college and who qualify for the TEP may complete the Elementary Education degree program in two years, including the teaching internship. The Western Kansas Center also offers the specific courses required for Kansas licensure endorsement as an English as Second Language (ESL) teacher. These courses can also be used as the basis for a Master of Science in Education degree program in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in English as a Second Language. Secondary education endorsements are also available.
The Newman University School of Social Work also offers courses in Dodge City and Garden City toward the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. In addition, Newman University offers two online programs, a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN), and a Bachelor of Business Studies degree.
Green notes that the Newman programs offer many benefits to area residents. Course credits can be easily transferred to Newman, especially for those with a bachelor’s degree, associate of art degree or associate of science degree. Credits can be transferred that were earned at Dodge City, Barton County, Garden City, Hutchinson, Pratt or Seward County Community Colleges, as well as other colleges and universities.
The Newman University Western Kansas Center will host two Open Houses in the coming months where area residents can learn more about the Early Childhood Unified Education degree and all Newman programs. The Open Houses will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3, and Thursday, June 16 at the Western Kansas Center, 236 San Jose, Suite 39 in Dodge City. The center is located in Hennessy Hall on the former St. Mary of the Plains campus. Please use the west entrance.