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Mayville State fears potential loss of secondary education program

MAYVILLE, N.D. -- Mayville State University has been training teachers since the late 19th century. So naturally Michael Worner, teacher education professor, had concerns when he heard the university might eliminate the secondary teacher educatio...

MAYVILLE, N.D. -- Mayville State University has been training teachers since the late 19th century.

So naturally Michael Worner, teacher education professor, had concerns when he heard the university might eliminate the secondary teacher education program.

"It's a big part of our history," Worner said. "We've been training teachers for hundreds of years."

The proposal for Mayville State to consider dropping the program was introduced Wednesday to university faculty by a team of consultants hired by the state Board of Higher Education to examine the future of both Mayville State and Valley City State University.

Their report, which has been a work in progress since January, identifies nearly 100 ways Mayville State and Valley City State could become stronger institutions independent from one another.

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"We realized we needed to make some changes," said Ellen Chaffee, Mayville State and Valley City State president. "And one way to get the perspective you need it to get outside eyes. That was why the consultants were hired."

While a number of changes were proposed for Mayville State, the suggestion to discontinue the secondary teacher education program raised the most concerns among the faculty attending Wednesday's meeting.

The loss of this program could mean the loss of students, especially athletes, Worner said.

But Chaffee assured the faculty that this is an issue to be examined carefully. There is no guarantee that Mayville State will take the recommendation.

"We are in charge of our own future," Chaffee said. "It is up to us to decide if this recommendation is right for us."

Chaffee also said students shouldn't worry. "No student will be caught in the middle," she added.

And even if changes were made in the secondary education program, Mayville State will continue to offer teacher education.

The report suggests resources for the secondary teacher education program be reallocated to the early childhood education program.

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Mayville State's Head Start grant and new state regulations requiring college-level preparation for teachers in early childhood programs make this area a strong prospect for future development, according to Tom Triplett, consulting team chair.

"Mayville should seek to distinguish itself with a focused professional preparation identity that is directly linked to areas of career opportunity and economic needs of the state," Triplett said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mary Jo Almquist at (701) 241-5531

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