SUNY Oswego-ESF pact encourages teacher training in sciences

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry have signed a pact that paves the way for ESF graduates in biology and chemistry to seamlessly enter Oswego master’s degree programs for teacher preparation.

The agreement, known as an articulation memorandum, encourages greater opportunity at Oswego for students in career tracks that extend from environmental biology, chemistry and related undergraduate programs at ESF in Syracuse.

Barbara Garii, associate dean of SUNY Oswego’s School of Education, called it a “win-win situation. Both colleges are part of the SUNY system and both are excellent schools.”

Garii said she would like to see “five or six, if not more, annually” ESF graduates enter Oswego master’s degree programs in education under the partnership.

“We are now working closely with the faculty of ESF, specifically biology and chemistry, to ease the path for undergraduates to come into our MST (master of science for teachers) program seamlessly,” Garii said.

Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley and ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy Jr. signed an agreement in the fall that enables ESF graduates who fulfill a prescribed curriculum to enter a graduate-level initial teacher certification master’s degree program at Oswego, without what Garii called “a to-do list.”

Science educators

For its part, SUNY Oswego “gets very well-prepared students who are very passionate about science and who want to move children along the path of science learning,” Garii said.

Garii said discussions started when she and others at Oswego recognized that SUNY ESF has a pool of undergraduates who may be interested in taking part in O-RITE, a trailblazing teacher training program that will immerse teacher trainees in nine high-need school districts in Oswego County, Syracuse and New York City. SUNY Oswego is in the midst of a pilot program for the Oswego Residency Initiative for Teacher Excellence, funded by a $1.73 million Race to the Top grant through the state Education Department.

“While the impetus of this agreement was the collaboration with O-RITE, it now extends to the existing adolescence education biology and chemistry and the childhood education science concentration MST programs in curriculum and instruction,” Garii said.

ESF identified a couple of courses for biology and chemistry students to add to current curricula that would qualify them for admission to Oswego for this master’s-level teacher preparation, Garii said. Students majoring in allied areas could complete several courses, often as electives in their current programs, to take advantage of seamless entry to the graduate School of Education.