July 23, 2001
First group wraps up new credential/master's program
By Jennifer McNulty
With plenty of pomp and sufficient circumstance, 67 proud members of UCSC's graduate
program in education wrapped up their studies on Friday and prepared to head out
into the world of teaching.
The group was the first to complete the campus's new program that offers students
a master's degree in education as well as a teaching credential in just 15 months.
"It was fast and furious," said graduate Sarah Henne, 25, who will teach
second graders in a bilingual classroom at H. A. Hyde Elementary School in the Pajaro
Valley Unified School District this fall. "I got exactly what I wanted, but
we definitely broke in the program!"
Participating in the graduation ceremony in the Music Center Recital Hall were
Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor John Simpson, Social Sciences Dean Martin
Chemers, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Frank Talamantes, and Education
Chair Joyce Justus.
Eighty-five percent of graduates have jobs lined up for the fall, said Justus.
Most will stay in the tricounty area, but about 10 percent will head "over the
hill" to Silicon Valley and beyond.
UCSC was the first UC campus to respond to Governor Gray Davis's 1999 call for
the University of California to play a bigger role in teacher-preparation efforts,
which traditionally have been the bailiwick of the California State University system.
The UCSC program offers a blend of theory and practice. It emphasizes the theoretical
basis of teaching and learning while requiring students to complete five quarters
of student teaching.
By condensing the Education Department's successful two-year program into 15 months,
UCSC is helping to fill the state's alarming need for classroom teachers: More than
250,000 new teachers must be hired in the next ten years, according to the California
Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Nothing appears to have been sacrificed, said Justus. "These students have
performed as well in the classroom setting as our students who were in the two-year
program," she said. "I think that's because the two-year program included
a summer break in the middle. This 15-month program is nonstop, and the students
make a focused, concerted effort."
Stuart Branoff, 30, chose UCSC's program in part because of the shortened time
line. With seven years as an outdoor educator under his belt, Branoff was ready to
go into classroom teaching, and the condensed program, as well as the master's degree,
suited his needs.
"Having a master's degree and a credential offers more flexibility in terms
of what you can do after you graduate," said Branoff, who will teach sixth grade
at Bay View Elementary in Santa Cruz.
More than signing his hiring papers, Branoff said getting his hands on the key
to his classroom made the reality of being a teacher sink in. "I'm very excited
and nervous in the sense that I want to do a good job," he said. "It's
been busy, but I'm very happy with the program. I've gotten good experience, I've
gained classroom skills, and basically, I got my ideal job."
UCSC's focus on the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students resonated
with Lawrence Raneses, 23, who jumped right into the graduate program two weeks after
earning his degree in mathematics at UCSC.
"Education is basically breaking down barriers between different people,
and the program made me aware of all the different types of people there are and
how, as a teacher, I can deal with that," said Raneses, who will teach geometry,
pre-algebra, and interactive mathematics at Everett Alvarez High School in his hometown
of Salinas. Raneses was inspired to become a teacher by his own high school math
"Hopefully, I can be a teacher like him, being there for kids outside the
classroom as well as academically. He's why I'm here today," said Raneses. "It's
my turn to give back."
Asked if he felt the program prepared him to take on the challenges of classroom
teaching, Raneses replied with good humor: "In terms of being stressed, yes,"
he said. "And the workload, too."
Coincidentally, the new class of 121 aspiring teachers arrived the same week that
Raneses, Branoff, Henne, and their classmates finished up. It may have been a wild
15 months, but the graduates all agreed that it was time well spent.
"I feel prepared--much more prepared than people who didn't go through a
master's program," concluded Henne, who earned a B.A. in community studies from
UCSC in 1999. "People have said our preparation is equivalent to being third-year
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