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Math Education Program Discontinued

By Savannah Cooper
On September 10, 2018

Concord's math major is still intact at this time.
Photo Courtesy of Caleb Zopp

The past few months have brought abrupt and unexpected changes to the math department at Concord University. From position changes to dropping majors, the math department is altering its image and program offerings.

 

Lisa Darlington, the new department chair, comments on recent changes to the department, specifically the dropping of the math education program. “Our program is considered [to have] low enrollment. The number of people going through the math education program has been steadily going down,” she explains.

 

After evaluating enrollment numbers, members of the education department and math department recommended getting rid of the math education program.

 

Dr. Darlington goes on to say, “With some discussion among the department, we decided to sunset it. This means the people who will be student teaching next fall will be the last group to finish up.” She explains that they are not completely eliminating math education as an emphasis option since the mathematics program includes an educational track.

 

Darlington states, “Currently how the state works, if you have a degree in a [math] field, you can teach with a degree in that field and take alternative certification, or go on to get an M.A.T. to get certified to teach.” In other words, students will complete a math degree, and then get certified to teach later. This is the backup plan in place for students who want to be math teachers after graduation.

 

This is also the option that students will take who are unable to complete their student teaching in light of this change by next fall. For some Concord students, this change has produced more struggles and hardships than benefits. One such student struggling with the changes is Emily Hendricks, a junior at Concord.

 

Hendricks was a year and a half into the math education program when she found out that it was being eliminated. She explains that she found out about the change to her major through a teammate. She says, “Believe it or not, I found out through [a] girl who was about to finish her program in math education. We were on a tennis bus. She just mentioned it in passing not knowing no one had informed me. It was a real crummy way to find out.”

 

When asked how the decision is affecting her, she states, “I’m not going to be able to take any education classes. They have a couple of classes in the Math Department that are geared towards educators, and I’ve taken those, but that’s all of the ‘education’ part I’ll be getting.”

 

Unfortunately, instead of getting practice in the classroom through student teaching, she will have to jump right into teaching with no prior experience. She says, “My first time teaching in a classroom will be when I actually start my career, that is, if I’m hired with my credentials.”

 

She is not only disappointed in Concord for making the decision, but she says she “is disappointed with how the administration has left us in the dark.” She added that, for example, they only “held meetings for the remaining math education majors.”

 

She states that, “The administration is proving to us just how important students and our futures are in their eyes with how they are going about this.”

 

Hendricks does not feel that the remaining math education option compensates for taking the math education program away. There will be important teaching classes she will miss out on because of the change, she reports.

 

With the already low rate of teachers in West Virginia, Hendricks feels as if the decision to get rid of the program will be detrimental to the area. She says she is “very nervous for the state of West Virginia when it comes to finding math teachers.”

 

Dr. Darlington also comments on the need for teachers in the state. She says, “We definitely need math teachers. We’ve seen a lot of people recently starting out in the math education program and graduating with a math degree instead. So, it’s not like we’re not trying to turn out math teachers. That’s what the math degree education track is for.”

 

Because the program is new, changes and alterations are still occurring. The coming months will show what effects the program’s change will have on the campus and in the state education system as a whole. Dr. Darlington encourages anyone with questions to come and talk to her. Those with questions can email Dr. Darlington at ldarlington@concord.edu.

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