Baldwin Wallace University announced today that it will offer tuition-free accelerated masters of education degrees to 10 adults with bachelor’s degrees in math or science who are interested in transitioning to teaching careers.
The accelerated degree program is a one-year, experiential graduate teaching program targeting math and science education for grades 7-12, where the teacher shortage is most acute, according to a press release.
Free for first 10 students
The program, which includes mentored field and clinical experiences in local schools and has been a hallmark of Baldwin Wallace for decades, will be free for the first 10 students who enroll in this coming year’s program, which begins in the summer 2023.
The rest of the students enrolling in the program will also be getting a deal on tuition. Rather than paying the normal full price of $19,980, students will only pay about $7,500 thanks to funding from the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Higher Education scholarship programs aimed at eliminating teacher shortages.
Out-of-pocket costs for the 10 STEM-educated individuals are covered by funds from Baldwin Wallace and the education company Meteor Learning.
“This Ohio-focused program provides a pathway for those individuals to meet both the needs of our students and the future of our workforce,” Dr. Stephen Dittmore, Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, said in a statement.
Strong ties to Cleveland schools
Applicants must be Ohio residents and willing to teach in Ohio schools. The degree will be available online, so it’s accessible to students anywhere in Ohio. Baldwin Wallace will work with the students to place them in schools in their local communities, Dittmore told Signal Cleveland.
While it’s an Ohio-wide program, the university’s strongest ties are in Northeast Ohio with districts such as the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and several suburban school districts, including those near the university campus.
CMSD has five vacant full-time math and science teacher positions currently filled by long-term substitutes, Laura Mulvaney, executive director of strategic staffing at CMSD told Signal Cleveland in an email.
“[CMSD] is so excited to see this program being implemented,” she said. “CMSD has also experienced the teacher shortage, and we know due to COVID and the lack of enrollment of students going into Education as a career, we have to focus on helping people to become teachers.”
Of the district’s 3000 teachers, about 300 are math and science teachers, Mulvaney said.
Cleveland Teachers’ Union President Sheri Obrenski shared the same concerns in a newsletter last month that CMSD is doing better than other urban districts in regards to staffing. But she cautioned, “We are still experiencing shortages in the traditionally hard-to-fill areas of math and science, and some special areas.”
Though graduates of the Baldwin Wallace program may be placed in public, private, or charter schools, most of their students are interested in working in the public K-12 school systems, Dittmore said.
This story was updated to include a statement from CMSD.
Interested applicants can find more information about the program and scholarship opportunity or begin the enrollment process by calling (440) 210-4129 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about the Master’s of Arts in Education program can be found at the program’s webpage.