Help­ing fu­ture teach­ers a re­ward­ing way to serve those who serve oth­ers

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Opinion - By Amy M. McCor­mack Amy M. McCor­mack is the pres­i­dent of Calumet Col­lege of St. Joseph.

When I came to Calumet Col­lege of St. Joseph in July 2017, I was drawn by the pro­grams that are serv­ing those that serve oth­ers. Pre­par­ing stu­dents to serve oth­ers and the com­mu­nity can have a rip­ple ef­fect that can’t al­ways be mea­sured, but can be mean­ing­ful to so many.

There is no ques­tion about the im­pact a good teacher can have on a stu­dent and their fu­ture. Calumet Col­lege of St. Joseph has been known as the teacher of teach­ers. In fact, Calumet Col­lege of St. Joseph has one of the old­est teacher ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams in North­west In­di­ana and the old­est Tran­si­tion to Teach­ing pro­gram in the state.

Tran­si­tions is an ac­cel­er­ated pro­gram that al­lows those with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree to tran­si­tion into be­com­ing a teacher in 18 months. Dur­ing the last month, I have met two stu­dents that will tran­si­tion into new teach­ing ca­reers.

One was a fairly re­cent graduate with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in his­tory and a pas­sion for Socrates. She spoke of the im­pact her his­tory teacher had on her, and she hopes to be­gin the Tran­si­tions pro­gram in Jan­uary. The other was a woman well into her ca­reer in busi­ness and le­gal ad­min­is­tra­tion, but felt it was time for a ca­reer change. I could tell she was chart­ing new waters when she ar­rived at our open house, but af­ter talk­ing with the pro­gram di­rec­tor and vis­it­ing a class, she left with a new di­rec­tion.

Help­ing fu­ture teach­ers find their pas­sion is one of the most re­ward­ing ways to serve those who will end up serv­ing and in­spir­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents at Calumet Col­lege of St. Joseph can have a rip­ple ef­fect on many.

It is al­ways a joy to meet stu­dents and hear their sto­ries and how they came to choose a col­lege and area of study. There are times when the pro­gram of study is ob­vi­ous, which is true for many in the Pub­lic Safety Man­age­ment and Pub­lic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion Pro­grams. Un­til a few years ago, Calumet Col­lege was the only Pub­lic Safety pro­gram in the Chicago area. There are more than 3,000 pub­lic safety pro­fes­sion­als who have a bach­e­lor’s and/or mas­ter’s de­gree from Calumet Col­lege of St. Joseph. The fac­ulty have 350 years of com­bined ex­pe­ri­ence in pub­lic safety. It is another pro­gram that of­fers an ac­cel­er­ated for­mat to work around the de­mand­ing sched­ules of our po­lice and pub­lic safety of­fi­cers.

In 2019, the col­lege will launch a new de­liv­ery op­tion to al­low stu­dents to at­tend classes via their com­puter at their home or place of work. Tech­nol­ogy will make the pro­gram more con­ve­nient and ac­ces­si­ble, which will help to ex­pand the abil­ity to serve those that are serv­ing and pro­tect­ing oth­ers.

With teach­ers and po­lice of­fi­cers there is a clear path to their ca­reer of ser­vice, but a de­gree in Hu­man Ser­vices pre­pares stu­dents for en­try into many so­cial ser­vice fields. Since 1997, Calumet Col­lege has been of­fer­ing a de­gree in Hu­man Ser­vices. This pro­gram is also de­liv­ered in an ac­cel­er­ated man­ner us­ing a hy­brid ap­proach with two hours of in-class time and one hour on-line. In­tern­ships give stu­dents valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence in the field at a va­ri­ety of so­cial ser­vice agen­cies in our com­mu­nity.

Our fac­ulty mem­bers also are ac­tively in­volved in the com­mu­nity with ex­pe­ri­ence in pri­vate prac­tice, in-pa­tient psy­chi­atric, com­mu­nity men­tal health, child ad­vo­cacy, drug and al­co­hol coun­sel­ing, child wel­fare and health care. Stu­dents in the Hu­man Ser­vices pro­gram have a strong de­sire to help oth­ers, and our grad­u­ates are work­ing in the field and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives. For those who have an in­ter­est in serv­ing oth­ers, there is a tremen­dous need and a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties.

Two weeks ago, we cel­e­brated Veterans Day, and Calumet Col­lege is hon­ored to serve veterans and their fam­i­lies as they fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion or pur­sue new ca­reers. Calumet Col­lege of St. Joseph is rec­og­nized as a veteran friendly school. Cur­rently, we serve 25 veterans pur­su­ing as­so­ci­ates, bach­e­lors or mas­ters de­grees. We also have stu­dents that are ac­tive mil­i­tary or chil­dren of veterans.

Em­pow­er­ing stu­dents, so­cial jus­tice and an ethic of ser­vice are all com­po­nents of our mis­sion at Calumet Col­lege of St. Joseph. At this time of year, it is im­por­tant to pause, rec­og­nize and thank those who lead a life of serv­ing oth­ers. They are bless­ings to our chil­dren, our stu­dents, our com­mu­ni­ties and our coun­try.

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