As traditional teacher education programs in the region and across the nation cope with enrollment declines, Bowie State University has been steadily increasing the number of students enrolled in bachelors’ education programs, growing from 221 students in 2018 to 319 in 2021.
Maryland, like almost all states across the nation, is facing a teacher shortage. Since 2012, students pursuing education degrees in the state has plummeted by 33 percent and teacher vacancies have substantially increased due to retirement and other factors compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bowie State continues to focus on the critical need to attract high caliber students to its education programs to help fill the teacher void in the state. This is particularly important since the majority of Maryland’s new teachers are not representative of the student demographics in the state which have grown more diverse in recent years. Maryland’s public school population is over a third Black and 20 percent Latino.
Recent reporting indicated that the teacher shortage is magnified nationally by the fact that Black and Latino teachers have a higher churn rate than their white peers. In its 2021 State of the U.S. Teacher Survey, Rand Corp. researchers found that about half of Black teachers reported they were likely to leave their jobs by the end of the school year, which was higher than other races.
Science, technology, engineering, and math education programs are key components of Bowie State’s curriculum along with unique programs designed to increase the number of special education and Black male teachers. The university also has programs to help para-professionals secure education degrees and other credentials to enable them to become classroom teachers through the Maryland State Department of Education Leads and Teacher Collaborative Grant programs.
“Our doctoral Education Leadership degree program grew from 69 students in 2021 to 149 students today, an increase of 116 percent in one year,” said Dr. Rhonda Jeter, dean. “The numbers soared this fall due to the program expanding to be offered online for the first time. We anticipate even more educators to enroll in the program in the future.”