Rowan College at Gloucester County

RCGC & Rowan University Sign Teacher Education Program Agreement

College Relations, Communications, and Marketing
Deptford Twp.
Date: 11/15/2016

Officials from Rowan College at Gloucester County’s (RCGC) Liberal Arts Division and Rowan University’s College of Education met on RCGC’s campus Nov. 9 to sign a Memorandum of Agreement that will benefit future teachers seeking to transfer to the University.

“By developing a formal Memorandum of Agreement between RCGC and the Rowan University College of Education, we are living out our commitment to addressing issues of access and affordability,” remarked Rowan College of Education Dean Monika Williams Shealey. “Together we are creating a more seamless pathway to our professional teacher education program. This agreement benefits our teacher candidates and the communities they will serve.”

Prior to the signing, English Professor Charles Harkins— a longtime education advocate for the teaching profession— addressed the audience. A graduate of Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), Harkins joined Gloucester County College (now RCGC) in 1970. In 1999, he lead a team of educators who developed and launched RCGC’s innovative Teachers 2000 (T2K) program, a program which sought to create a more comprehensive approach to educating future teachers. Students in the T2K program took pre-selected courses specifically designed for education majors and taught by professors with the goal to better prepare future educators. This immersion created a learning community where students were surrounded by those who shared their goals.

“We always hear from students — especially those entering the field of education — how teachers affected them,” said an emotional Harkins as he addressed the crowd of education majors, many of whom were students in his classes. “I’ve been doing this for 53 years, and it’s the students who have affected me. All of you have inspired me to work towards a better path to a career in education so that you can go out and inspire future generations.”

The new agreement builds upon the success of the T2K program, but goes one step further, providing specific courses to match the curriculum of RCGC education majors to the courses taken by Rowan University freshmen and sophomores. These changes will prepare RCGC students for a seamless transfer to the University, giving them a distinct advantage over other students in the state. If an RCGC education major participating in the program meets all educational requirements, they will be guaranteed admission to Rowan’s Early Childhood Education or Elementary Education programs.

“As we sign this memorandum today, it symbolizes the commitment we make to students who have decided to become educators,” said Dr. Stacey Leftwich, executive director of Educator Support and Partnerships at Rowan University. “The College of Education prides itself on providing access, success, and equity. This memorandum signing today signifies the access to the oldest college on Rowan University’s campus. The mentoring that your students will receive through their Teacher Education Program will support their success in and outside the classroom at Rowan University as well as the classroom they visit while out in the field. The final element, equity, is the college’s commitment to assist teacher candidates to be reflective practitioners who use education to transform our global society.”

In addition to setting up education majors for a smooth transfer into Rowan and other four-year institutions, this new program will better prepare students for Praxis Core testing. According to Harkins, currently about 70 percent of education majors nationally fail the Praxis on their first attempt, which is divided into three sections: language/writing, reading and mathematics. The Praxis section most difficult for students to pass is mathematics. For the College’s new program, Harkins worked closely with RCGC’s STEM Division to design a math course specifically for education majors to prepare them to successfully pass the test.

The agreement signing took place against a backdrop of enthusiastic RCGC education majors, eager to pursue their career path at Rowan University. One such student —Stephanie Verna, a second-year education major from Mullica Hill — had nothing but praise for the program and those who worked to make it a reality: “It’s the perfect program for me. I’m saving money. I’m learning so much and I can’t wait to transfer to Rowan University. Professor Harkins has been an incredible mentor. He and my advisor, Mr. Rey, have worked so hard to get me to where I want to be.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Nick Painter, a second-year education major from Woodstown, who is looking forward to a career as an elementary or middle school special education teacher: “I loved going to school. I can’t imagine doing anything else when it comes to a career. Profession Harkins has done so much to make me successful.”

For more information about the Teacher Education Program, visit

Rowan College at Gloucester County is located on a 250-acre campus on Tanyard Road, Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.