JAMESTOWN - The Jamestown Community College board of trustees authorized college officials to move forward with a proposed new Associate in Applied Science degree in early childhood education during the board's March meeting.
The proposal, which has already been reviewed by the college's faculty, now moves on to both the State University of New York and the New York State Education Department for the next stages of approval.
According to Mary Kay Szwejbka, associate professor and director of teacher education, the proposed degree is intended as a career-oriented option for students seeking employment in an entry level early care and education setting.
"Someone who completes this two-year degree could be eligible for a position as an assistant teacher or lead teacher, depending on the setting," she said. "This would also be a great opportunity for currently employed early care and education professionals wishing to upgrade their skills and position themselves to move up the ladder."
Dr. Szwejbka distinguished the proposed degree from JCC's current Associate in Science teacher education transfer degree program in early childhood education which is designed for students intending to transfer to junior level status at a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor's degree and state teaching credentials.
In describing the proposed degree, Eileen Brittain, associate professor of education at JCC's Cattaraugus County Campus, noted that the program includes fundamental study in the theories of child development including the environmental influences that impact specific milestone attainment in the biological, cognitive, and social-emotional areas.
"Courses emphasize the key foundational influences of the family and the community on the development of the child including the wide diversity of family systems we currently find in society," Brittain said.
Dr. Zagora explained to the board that while courses that can be applied toward the proposed degree are currently being offered, JCC will be able to admit students into the program when both state level approval processes are complete, most likely in the spring of 2013.