TWIN FALLS — College of Southern Idaho students will have the chance to complete a bachelor’s degree in education while remaining in the Magic Valley through a new partnership between CSI and Lewis-Clark State College.
Through this agreement, students will complete three years worth of credits through CSI and one year through Lewis-Clark while obtaining a degree in elementary education. Students can focus the degree on either English or special education.
In a statement announcing the agreement, CSI President Dean Fisher said the partnership will help address a teacher shortage.
“It’s no secret that Southern Idaho is facing a critical teacher shortage,” Fisher said in a statement. “This partnership with LCSC will significantly expand access for aspiring teachers to get the training they need to enter the field of education at an affordable price and without having to leave the local area.”
CSI already offers two-year associate’s degrees in education, after which students have to move on to a four-year school to complete their education. But not all students successfully complete that transition.
Tracey Meyerhoeffer, the head of CSI’s education department, said about 75% of the students who earn associate’s degrees in education transfer to a four-year college or university. Out of those students, only 60% then finish that degree.
Meyerhoeffer said this agreement with Lewis-Clark is designed to address this issue. CSI staff and teachers will continue to support and guide students through the four-year program, even as classes through Lewis-Clark are introduced into the student’s coursework.
“We know that for students, the relationships they build lead to retention,” Meyerhoeffer said.
The college will base the program on the modules CSI uses for its nontraditional educator program, which certifies students with bachelor’s degrees not in education. This program focuses on classroom experience under the guidance of a qualified mentor.
CSI began working with Lewis-Clark on this agreement last fall. Meyerhoeffer said the program could expand into a degree in secondary education in the future.