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App State selected to join North Carolina Teaching Fellows program

Last Updated on March 6, 2024 4:11 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. — Beginning next fall, Appalachian State University will be among 10 colleges and universities statewide that are partnered with the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program.

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N.C. Teaching Fellows is a competitive, merit-based forgivable loan program providing tuition assistance of up to $10,000 per year for qualified students committed to teaching elementary education, special education, science, technology, engineering or math in a North Carolina public school. The purpose of the program is to recruit, prepare and support future teachers who attend institutions of higher education in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission announced Feb. 15 that it unanimously selected App State and East Carolina University as new partner institutions for the program, beginning in 2024–25. The two institutions will join the existing eight partner colleges and universities in offering initial teacher licensure programs in STEM education, exceptional children education and elementary education.

Last year, the General Assembly passed a law expanding the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program from eight to 10 institutions. Through a competitive process, 15 proposals from colleges and universities were submitted for review by the commission. Proposals were judged on a number of criteria, including program data, institutional support and practical experiences for participants, as well as an institution’s potential impact on geographic diversity and number of applicants.

“The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission received a large number of quality applications from all parts of the state and commends all the institutions that submitted for the excellent work that they are doing,” said Commission Chair Joy Smith. “We are excited to be able to address the deserts in Teaching Fellows institutions that existed in the eastern and western parts of the state with the naming of these two institutions to the NCTF program.”

“Welcoming the next generation of educators is one of the most important things we do as a public university,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “Now that two of the UNC System’s largest educator preparation programs are included in Teaching Fellows, we hope to see the teacher pipeline expand to help match the substantial need in North Carolina’s school districts.”

App State has one of the largest teacher education programs in North Carolina, with at least one App State graduate employed in almost all 100 counties of the state. As of spring 2024, 10,402 Mountaineer alumni teach in 2,168 schools in 111 school districts across the state.

“App State’s Reich College of Education is committed to improving the quality of educator preparation through the recruitment and retention of exceptional educators, who in turn will inspire learning in North Carolina classrooms,” said Dr. Melba Spooner, dean of the Reich College of Education. “We look forward to partnering with the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program to create and support the robust experiences educators deserve, as well as the impact they make in providing exceptional and accessible learning experiences for students.”

N.C. Teaching Fellows Commission Vice Chair Patrick Brennan added, “Our public schools are the cornerstone of North Carolina’s foundation. The number and quality of proposals to be a partner institution with the NCTF program shows a strong commitment to the teaching profession. I am pleased that we are adding both Appalachian State University and East Carolina University as partner institutions, as not only do these campuses graduate a significant number of teachers, but they also do a great job of preparing them to make an impact in schools across North Carolina.”

The 10 NCTF partner institutions in 2024–25 are:

  • Appalachian State University.
  • East Carolina University.
  • Elon University.
  • Fayetteville State University.
  • Meredith College.
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
  • North Carolina State University.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Learn more about the N.C. Teaching Fellows program.

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