By Julie Cole
ive years equals two degrees plus outstanding opportunities.
Things are adding up in a big way for Briercrest College and Seminary students who desire a degree in education that also contains the distinctives of their Christian faith.
On Feb. 7, Briercrest College and Minot State University signed a partnership agreement that now makes that desire a possibility.
Students will receive a BA from Briercrest and a BSE from Minot State in five years. The first three years are spent at Briercrest and the remaining two at Minot State.
Wes Olmstead, VP Academic of Briercrest is excited about the partnership.
“We are delighted to be signing an agreement that for the first time in our history will have students making carefully planned progress towards an education degree from the first day that they step onto our campus. It will allow both Canadian and American students to take advantage of the rich faculty resources and distinctive strengths of both institutions.”
Many Briercrest alumni have entered education programs across the country. As a result, the desire to find a way to offer an education degree has been alive for years.
Neil Nordquist, Dean of Education and Health Sciences at Minot State, welcomes the idea of more Canadian students coming to his institution. Currently, about 10% of the students at Minot State are Canadians.
“Our Canadian students have done exceptionally well,” he said. “The faculty love to have them.”
Minot State has deep roots in offering education degrees. It was founded in 1913 as a school that provided two-year certificates to teachers so they could educate people in the territory of North Dakota.
Many students are already excited to apply for this program.
Chelsea Peters, a senior at Caronport High School, is enthusiastic about the partnership. Peters wants to be an elementary school teacher, but also desires to study the Bible at Briercrest.
“With this program I’d be able to do that and still get the education I want,” she said. “I’d get two degrees in a five year period which is really good. I’d only have to spend a year and a half away from home and the other half year doing my practicum in school which is great because I love hands-on (learning).”
The job market for teaching positions in many areas is very competitive. In addition to the vocational options open to graduates of typical education programs, a Briercrest-Minot State BA/BSE graduate will have the advantage in job areas within the Christian school system and the church.
This greatly increases job possibilities.
Christian elementary and secondary schools have dramatically grown over the past two decades. For example, the Association of Christian Schools International has over 70 schools in the Western provinces, with a student population approaching 20,000.
More churches are asking for their employees who work with children and youth to have an education degree.
Briercrest President Dwayne Uglem recognizes the partnership agreement as a “significant milestone” in the school’s history.
“(We’ve) looked for this day where our students would have access to this sort of education program really for a couple of decades. To be here now to celebrate that and enjoy this moment is indeed very significant.”
For more information about this program go to www.briercrest.ca/education.