UAlbany Revives a Pathway to Teaching for Undergraduates

Young students raise their hands as a teacher smiles at the blackboard
In a 2019 photo, children raise hands to answer a question.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 9, 2021) — After a four-decade hiatus, a direct pathway to the teaching profession has become a reality for undergraduates at the University at Albany.

The Great Dane Teacher Program (GDTP), instituted by the School of Education and officially beginning this fall, creates an accelerated admissions pathway in nine College of Arts and Sciences majors and one SOE major, Human Development, leading to a master's degree in education and New York State teacher certification.

Students will use their undergraduate experience at UAlbany to become experts in their content area. Then, after successfully applying to an SOE master’s program in their junior or senior years, gain knowledge and experience needed for a career as a teacher through their graduate coursework.

During those years, master’s courses will count toward both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and students will be charged at the undergraduate rate. The result will be that GDTP students will finish both their degrees with a financial savings.

A Legacy of Preparing Teachers at All Levels

Chartered in 1844 as New York’s first public teachers college, UAlbany has been preparing the next generation of teachers for New York and beyond for more than 175 years. Through the institution’s evolution into a college and then a research university, the School of Education emerged as a national leader in educational research and shifted its teacher preparation programs to the graduate level.

“The profession of teaching has advanced tremendously in complexity and responsibility in the last 40 years, so it is a great time for UAlbany, as a multi-faceted research university, to return to its roots, and once again provide undergraduate pathways to the education profession,” said Jason Lane, dean of SOE. “Our role as a research university allows us to provide students with a tremendous opportunity to become both experts in their fields of study and experts in pedagogical practice.”

Christy Smith, SOE assistant dean, noted that GDTP will have the added benefit of involving several schools and colleges in the mission to improve teaching preparedness in the state and nation. “Our aim is that the GDTP functions as more than just a combined program, but as a supportive environment/culture/community for students interested in teaching from beginning to end,” she said.

New Scholarships for a New Program

An additional feature of the new GDTP is that scholarships are already available and can be applied for during the early admissions cycle. They provide $1000 for each undergraduate year and another $1000 applicable towards master’s degree studies.

This year there are seven GDTP scholarships available for a total of $35,000. During UAlbany’s March Matchness, SOE plans on all matched funds going to the GDTP scholarships.

The 10 degrees now available can be viewed at the GDTP website. As with the new scholarships, it is anticipated that many more will become available in the future.

The School of Education is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as New York’s leading public school of education, the #2 public in the Northeast, and #10 in the country in online graduate education. It enrolls more than 1,500 students in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in the areas of education and mental health.