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April 26, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU College of Education creates 'Professor Protégé Program'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Nearly two dozen incoming Slippery Rock University education majors next fall will be part of the College of Education's new Professor Protégé Program designed to enhance their professional development opportunities as they begin their college careers.

"We see this new program as providing additional benefits to our teacher education students by providing additional mentoring and the chance to work on research projects," said Randall Nichols, associate professor in physical and health education and protégé program organizer.

"This is a program that will allow us to continue to recruit quality freshmen interested in pursuing careers as teachers and educators," said Keith Dils, College of Education dean. "We also believe that as students work closer with faculty, they will become even more engaged in the college, the University and their studies, which will continue to boost our retention rate."

"Those involved in the program will have jobs and will earn student wages for their efforts," Dils said.

"A key focus of the program is identifying quality students and then investing in their education through intense mentoring and involvement in education research projects," Nichols said.

"Faculty members will benefit by being able to work closely with a student on a service or scholarship project. We have established a task force to implement the program across the college," Dils said.

The new program, open to incoming freshmen, involves all majors across the college, including early childhood development, special education, secondary education, counseling and development and physical and health education.

The initial program involves faculty working with more than 20 students who have applied for jobs offered through the program.

Nichols said the jobs allow students to work with such programs as Kids in Action, writing for the health and physical education department's Web page, serving as a health education advocacy assistant, serving in an elementary science laboratory, serving as a secondary methods service learning assistant, serving as a tutoring assistant at Emily Brittain Elementary School in Butler, working with SRU's "Moving Concepts" program for elementary school-age children and a host of others jobs.

"We want those involved with the project to get both hands-on and practical experience by working closely with faculty. We think the program is innovative and educational," Nichols said. "It will help students learn a number of skills, including team building."

"We think the program will make coming to SRU even more attractive and provides the big picture of both faculty scholarship and service to benefit students," he said. A number of seminars related to the program are being planned for the coming year.

Students interested in the program can apply online through the final day of orientation and will be selected by a committee. In addition to the job application, those interested are also required to submit two letters of recommendation.

"At the end of the year, the student participants will be required to present their work, including what work they undertook, what they learned and how it benefitted others," Nichols said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.