photograph of students in a classroom

North Alabama’s College of Education and Human Sciences Experiencing Explosive Growth in Teacher Education

Dec. 07, 2021



Michelle R. Eubanks , UNA, at meubanks@una.edu, 256.765.4392

FLORENCE, AL The College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of North Alabama is leading the state when it comes to growth among teacher education majors and number of graduates, filling in-demand teaching positions at all levels throughout the region and state.

“North Alabama’s College of Education and Human Sciences has experienced atypical growth in its Early Childhood and Elementary Education programs,” said Dr. Ross Alexander, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “UNA takes very seriously its history as a ‘Teacher’s College,’ and that is evidenced in the growth in these programs as well as the positive impact they have on fulfilling acute workforce needs.”

Earlier this year, the Alabama State Department of Education, under the leadership of State Superintendent Dr. Eric G. Mackey, launched a campaign to recruit and retain educators. We Teach Alabama encourages college students to learn more about education programs in the state and how they fill much-needed roles.

Founded in 1830 as a state normal school on LaGrange Mountain in Colbert County in the northwest corner of the state, UNA’s history is intrinsically tied to its mission of preparing future educators for their roles in the classroom. That mission is more vital than ever as UNA and the COEHS continue to ensure that classrooms across Alabama are led by prepared and professional educators.

Alexander said UNA is at the forefront of the statewide effort to train and retain teachers in Alabama, and that strategy has already resulted in some positive gains, including:

  • 99 percent of UNA Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education majors are from Alabama;

  • UNA Early Childhood and Elementary Education programs have grown 37 percent in just six years;

  • Since 2014, the number of degrees awarded by UNA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education has increased by 53 percent;

  • Virtually all UNA graduates in these programs are placed in Alabama schools;

  • UNA has forged strong partnerships with almost every school district in north Alabama to incentivize graduate degree completion as a teacher retention mechanism for schools and districts via its LEAD Initiatives, including attractive scholarships. This initiative has been so successful that it has resulted in a 103 percent increase in enrollment in UNA’s graduate teacher education programs since 2014.

“Part of the equation for our success is also Kilby Laboratory School,” said Dr. Katie Kinney, Dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. “As the state’s only state-funded university laboratory school in the state, Kilby provides a true ‘learning laboratory’ for UNA students and allows them to be workforce ready immediately upon graduation.”

Kilby is on the UNA campus and is a Pre-K through 6th grade laboratory school designed to serve as a true training facility for future educators.

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Big South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/