SOURCE: Western Governors University

March 19, 2008 13:52 ET

Western Governors University Continues to Increase the National Pool of Qualified Rural Teachers

SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwire - March 19, 2008) - While reaching 10,000 enrolled students recently, Western Governors University (www.wgu.edu) continues working with the U.S. Department of Labor to increase the national pool of qualified rural teachers, particularly in the hard-to-fill disciplines of mathematics and science, in Idaho. The WGU Teachers College is among the largest teacher colleges providing online teaching degrees with approximately 1,200 students enrolled in math and science teaching programs.

WGU was awarded a $3 million grant from the Department of Labor that allows WGU to provide financial, academic and clinical support for teacher candidates. Western Governors University is working to increase the number of qualified rural teachers by offering $7,500 scholarships to qualified individuals in rural areas of Idaho. Prospective recipients are those who reside in rural areas who want to become licensed teachers in math or science, or existing teachers who live in rural areas and want to earn a master's degree online in math or science education.

During the past year, WGU has worked with various state labor and workforce development departments and local rural school districts to identify and prepare potential rural teacher candidates and will continue to do so, including awarding of DOL scholarships.

WGU Teachers College graduates have become licensed teachers in nearly every state. It is the only online teacher education program to be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Scholarship recipient Kimberley Landon, who lives in Oroville, Washington, which is a small agricultural community with a population of 2,000, is impressed with the program. "Upon graduation, I know I will have gained the knowledge necessary to be a successful teacher and not have just earned a degree," she said. Living in a rural area, Kimberley was glad she did not have to travel dozens of miles to a brick-and-mortar campus to earn her degree.

"What WGU has partnered to do with the Department of Labor has given me and many others in rural areas a great opportunity," says Kimberley, who is seeking her online master's degree in math. "Residing in a rural area has hindered the advancement of my dream of becoming a teacher, and now because of WGU and the scholarship provided, I can pursue my dream."

WGU's unique mission is to expand access to higher education through its online competency-based degree programs. Because the courses are offered via the Internet they are accessible to those living in rural areas who may not have a traditional campus that is accessible. This unique model measures what students know and can do, rather than measuring the time or credit hours spent in a classroom setting. It also is an advantage for working adults that have competencies through professional experience to complete their program more quickly without compromising the quality of graduates.

For more information on the WGU DOL scholarships, go to: www.wgu.edu/ruraleducators or call 1-866-225-5948.

About Western Governors University (WGU)

WGU is the only accredited university in the U.S. offering online competency-based degree programs. The private non-profit university was founded and is supported by 19 governors, as well as more than 20 leading corporations and foundations, which include corporations and foundations such as AT&T, Bearing Point, Dell, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hewlett-Packard, HCA, Microsoft, Oracle, Qwest, SunGard Higher Education, Sun Microsystems, and Zions Bank. WGU offers bachelor's and master's degrees in business, information technology, teacher education, and health professions, with students in all 50 states. More information is available at www.wgu.edu.

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