Virginia launches degrees to curtail teacher shortage

RICHMOND — Virginia is trying to make it easier to become a teacher.

The state is launching 53 new teacher preparation programs and 25 new degrees, by Gov. Ralph Northam announced last week, that will let people become teachers after getting an education degree in four years.

“We must remain focused on meeting the growing needs of our public education system to prepare the Commonwealth’s students for success and secure Virginia’s economic future,” Northam said in a statement.

“As we work to strengthen Virginia’s educator pipeline, I am pleased to see the approval of these comprehensive changes that will create new pathways to the classroom and help increase both the supply and the diversity of quality teachers in the Commonwealth.”

The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia and Virginia Board of Education approved the programs last month.

“Eliminating the barrier of extra years of schooling traditionally required for teacher licensure will encourage more students to pursue teaching careers,” said Education Secretary Atif Qarni.

“I am excited to see this increase in quality teachers impact the Commonwealth’s students for years to come.”

In the late 1980s, a state education committee crafted new guidelines for teacher requirements in an effort to make them more rigorous. The process led to more five-year college teacher programs, but did not eliminate four-year eligibility. Still, more than half of Virginia teachers have a master’s degree and an additional 1 percent have a doctorate, according to state data.

Richmond middle school teacher wins national honor

FORT SCOTT, Kan. — A Richmond middle school teacher has won a national honor.

Ryan James, who teaches at Lucille M. Brown Middle School in the city, was named a 2019 Lowell Milken Center fellow. James teachers civics and economics.

In 2017, James was named a Milken educator.

Rappahannock Community College leader is honored

WARSAW — The outgoing president of Rappahannock Community College has been named president emeritus.

Elizabeth H. Crowther received the title from the Virginia Community College System State Board. She retired from her post Sunday after 15 years as the college’s president.

VUU names new dean for Lewis School of Business

RICHMOND — Virginia Union University has named a new business school dean.

Robin Renee Davis was chosen as dean of the Sydney Lewis School of Business. She comes to VUU after serving as director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C.

“Dr. Davis is well-positioned to grow VUU’s School of Business by introducing new degree programs and helping our students develop in management and entrepreneurship,” said VUU President Hakim Lucas. “We are thrilled to welcome such an innovative scholar and thoughtful leader. Her vast experience and expertise will greatly benefit our students.”

UR professor gets grant for research on minnows

RICHMOND — A University of Richmond professor has received a grant for a first-of-its-kind research project on nest-building minnows in Virginia.

Eugene G. Maurakis was awarded the funding from the Virginia Academy of Science for his research project, “Testing the general public’s knowledge and attitudes of nest-building fishes in Virginia.”

Maurakis also serves as the chief scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia.

— From staff reports

Education Reporter

Justin Mattingly covers K-12 schools and higher education. A northern New York native and a Syracuse University alumnus, he's worked at the RTD since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

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