LCSC’s PACE Program receives national award
The Pathways for Accelerated Certification and Endorsement (PACE) program at Lewis-Clark State College received the University Continuing Education Association’s Distance Learning Program of Excellence at the UCEA’s national conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, last week.
The PACE program was created to help individuals earn a teaching degree through LCSC, but are unable to regularly attend classes on campus because of time constraints, location, or employment. The program is in its fourth year and serves students in the United States and foreign countries, including Russia, Bermuda, Japan, China, Italy, and Kuwait.
The two-year program allows students to take online classes during the school year and then come to LCSC each summer for intensive eight-week training sessions, proving both effective and personal learning. The program has helped teaching and classroom assistants in rural areas earn their teaching degrees, both at the elementary and at the secondary levels.
The program started in 2003 when LCSC was awarded a Mentoring Emphasis for Rural Intern Teachers (MERIT) grant, which has provided approximately $250,000 of support to the program. Each student chosen for the program receives $1,000 to help with book and tuition costs. These students also are observed teaching in the classroom through video conferencing as part of their training so instructors can see how they handle situations in a live classroom.
The use of the latest, cost-effective communication technology allows for individual mentoring, advising, study, review sessions and live training.
The program has been successful in helping meet the demand for teachers and has continued LCSC’s reputation for producing outstanding teachers. The program also has been effective for LCSC creating close relationships with many schools districts, which benefit from the services of certified PACE graduates.
“PACE is recognized externally for the excellence we all know it demonstrates every day,” LCSC President Dene K. Thomas says. “What a wonderful example of college-wide collaboration.”
Several programs and departments at LCSC have a hand in making the PACE program so successful.
“The PACE Program, offered through LCSC’s Education Division, is truly cutting edge both in terms of the technology used to deliver the program and the strict insistence on personal interaction that has defined it from inception,” says LCSC Dean of Community Programs Kathy Martin, who accepted the award at the conference.
“This is a great example of collaborative teamwork through the Distance Learning office providing support to faculty and students, through the Media Services office providing training and technical support to faculty, through the Education Division staff providing technical support and leadership, and, of particular note, through the efforts of two dedicated faculty – Wayne Carroll and David Massaro – who work together to make the program so successful.”
Randy Harper, Director of Summer School & Special Programs at LCSC, nominated the PACE program for the award. The PACE program maintains the same admission, retention, exiting, course, and internship requirements at the traditional teacher education program.
There are currently 105 active PACE students (51 elementary and 54 secondary), and the program has graduated and certified more than 70 teachers since its inception. One graduate started the PACE program when she lived in Grangeville, continued work when her family was relocated to Toledo, Ohio, and then finished her work in Bangor, Maine, after a second job transfer by her husband.
“This is an accomplishment of which we can all be proud because it represents the work and contributions of many individuals and units campus-wide,” says Carroll, who administers LCSC’s PACE Secondary Program.
“It’s wonderful when hard work receives the recognition it deserves,” LCSC Education Division Chair Jann Hill says. “Wayne and David have devoted endless time and energy to making this unique program a successful one. They have been amazing. I particularly appreciate their positive, can-do attitude when faced with challenges ...and there have been just a few.”
UCEA is dedicated to promoting high quality continuing education opportunities. Through its professional development programs, research, and practitioner networks, the association strives to enhance the effectiveness of its member institutions. Simultaneously, UCEA works to build public awareness of the value of continuing education to the realization of society's cultural and economic goals. The association consists of accredited, degree-granting higher education institutions and comparable non-profit organizations with a substantial involvement in postsecondary continuing education.
For more information on LCSC’s PACE program or the award, contact Hill, Carroll, or Massaro in the Education Division at 792-2260, or Martin at 792-2282.