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Voorhees College and UofSC partner to address teacher shortage in rural regions

Carol J.G. Ward, Communications and Public Affairs, University of South Carolina 803-771-7549,
Megan Freeman, Director of Communications, Voorhees College 803-780-1191,

South Carolina’s flagship university, a historically Black college and a national nonprofit are teaming up to address a teacher shortage in some of the state's most underserved districts.

The University of South Carolina College of Education, the Voorhees College Center of Excellence for Educator Preparation and Innovation and the Center for Teaching Quality entered a Memorandum of Agreement effective April 1 to offer educators in rural regions of South Carolina new pathways to the classroom. The initiative will provide opportunities for recruitment, retention and teacher preparation through the Carolina Collaborative for Alternative Preparation.

“The College of Education prides itself on its array of partnerships throughout the state. A significant goal for the college is to support the diversification of the teacher workforce, with a keen awareness of the challenges rural communities face in recruiting education professionals,” said Tommy Hodges, executive associate dean for faculty and academic affairs.

CarolinaCAP paves the way for bachelor’s degree-holding teacher candidates to immediately begin a career as a classroom teacher while participating in the necessary training to become certified.

“As CarolinaCAP moves into year two, this is an opportune time for Voorhees College to partner with us to expand the reach and impact of the program. The Center for Teaching Quality looks forward to the new learning that will benefit us all in this unique partnership,” said Ann Byrd, president and partner of the national nonprofit.

The partnership is one of many efforts between South Carolina’s institutions of higher learning to address the increasing teacher shortage in South Carolina. The partnership also targets underrepresentation among minority groups in classroom leadership by connecting Voorhees College, a historically Black college, with the statewide network of UofSC educational partnerships.

Executive Director Damara Hightower Mitchell said the partnership with CarolinaCAP is a natural fit for the mission of Voorhees’ Center of Excellence for Educator Preparation and Innovation.

“We believe meaningfully impacting K-12 education cannot be done in isolation,” she said. “Through federal funding for teacher effectiveness secured by the Interim President Ronnie Hopkins, Voorhees College is committed to supporting K-12 education through innovative professional learning opportunities, supplemental services and resources for prospective educators.”

In addition to developing and refining recruitment strategies for CarolinaCAP districts, the partnership will focus on identifying candidates in hard-to-staff geographic regions of the state and understaffed content areas such as STEM; developing strategies to boost representation for people of color in the classroom; addressing barriers to the teaching profession through innovative career pathways; and integrating diversity, equity and inclusion practices into the CarolinaCAP experience.

“This partnership with Voorhees further solidifies our college’s commitment to these issues and leverages the expertise of both institutions in the recruitment and preparation of a more diverse workforce that benefits all of South Carolina’s children,” Hodges said.

Additional goals include exploring how micro-credentials increase professional knowledge by enhancing competency in specific skills and directing attention to South Carolina Opportunity Zones, a federal program to encourage economic development and job creation in low-income communities. Research and data sharing will guide implementation and future direction for the partnership’s work.


About the UofSC College of Education:

The University of South Carolina College of Education plays a vital role in K-12 education across the Palmetto State. The college is committed to innovative programs and initiatives that address the state's teacher shortage through alternative pathways to certification such as CarolinaCAP, mentoring and coaching support for new teachers and improving the delivery of education through professional partnerships.


About the Voorhees College Center of Excellence for Educator Preparation and Innovation:

The aim of the Center of Excellence for Educator Preparation and Innovation at Voorhees College is to create equitable learning outcomes for students in underserved, high need areas and subjects by creating innovative pathways and models for increasing teacher effectiveness, addressing teacher shortages and diversifying the teacher workforce in South Carolina and the nation.


About the Center for Teaching Quality:

For more than 20 years, the Center for Teaching Quality has led efforts to improve public education by drawing on the expertise and insights of experienced educators. CTQ has worked with thousands of teachers, administrators and system leaders nationwide, listening to and learning from their experiences, then collaborating with them to create solutions to make public schools better.


About CarolinaCAP:

The Carolina Collaborative for Alternative Preparation is a collaboration among South Carolina school districts, the University of South Carolina and the Center for Teaching Quality with the goal to create an alternative pathway to full licensure for teacher candidates. CarolinaCAP marries the expertise of local teachers, schools and districts with nonprofits, educational technology companies and institutions of higher education.

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