The Education Studies Department collaborates closely with local school districts to establish outreach cohort programs that provide professional growth opportunities for school personnel. Cohorts have been established for instructional assistance and teacher endorsement programs. Additional cohorts are established in response to local needs. In 2010 the MCC Educators Academy was launched to provide low-cost professional development workshops for practicing and future teachers.
Many faculty members in the Education Studies Department utilize the latest instructional technology to enhance student learning. In several courses students create artifacts that are included in e-Portfolios as examples of their learning. The Department is collaborating with several Colleges of Education in the Valley in an effort to create a seamless transition using web-based tools as students progress along the professional continuum from community college, through university preparation, and into teaching.
The Xalapa Study Abroad Program for Educators, a Maricopa County Community College District program, has been strongly supported through MCC's Education Studies Department since the establishment of the program in 1998. This educational experience offers opportunities for aspiring and practicing educators to familiarize themselves with the Mexican school system through service learning in Mexican classrooms. The four-week, life-changing, cultural immersion experience includes seven college credits and prepares participants for teaching our increasingly diverse student populations through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Students pursuing an elementary education degree may transfer directly into the Norther Arizona University (NAU)-MCC 2+2 program where students complete their Bachelor of Science in Education – Elementary Education degree by attending NAU courses held in MCC classrooms. The freshman and sophomore years need to be completed at MCC; the junior and senior years are completed through NAU at MCC. This 2+2 partnership includes an emphasis on teaching English as a second language (ESL) or a dual major with Special Education, both highly recommended endorsements for Arizona teachers.
In an effort to help fill critical teaching shortages in math and science, the NAUTeach Program, modeled after the successful University of Texas at Austin program, encourages science and math majors to explore teaching as a career in a low-risk manner before making a commitment to the teaching profession. NAUTeach has expanded to include the Phoenix metropolitan area. Students complete freshman and sophomore years locally at MCC or another Maricopa College, spend three semesters at NAU-Flagstaff, then finish their final semester as an apprentice teacher back in the Valley. In preparation for the NAUTeach Program, students take Inquiry-Based Instructional Approaches to Science and Math I and II (EDU 111 and EDU112) at MCC.
A partnership with Grand Canyon University (GCU) is in the works to encourage students to take up to 84 credits at the Maricopa Colleges and then complete a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education by attending GCU courses held online and at MCC's Southern and Dobson campus. MCC-GCU cohort participants receive a discounted GCU tuition rate.