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Coming Online Degree Will Aim to Expand Info Technology Workforce

Albany, NY (December 16, 2015) – Seeking to further academic programs that connect directly to the specific workforce needs of New York State, this fall the SUNY High Needs Program awarded School of Education associate professor and online-learning expert Peter Shea the funding to create an online Certificate of Graduate Study in Information Technology Education (CITE).

UAlbany's Peter Shea information technology

Dr. Peter Shea

The project was one of three UAlbany proposals selected for High Needs competitive grants in 2015-16. Bringing together faculty from the School of Education’s Department of Educational Theory and Practice and Department of Informatics in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the outcome will be a SUNY graduate credential that helps prepare teachers and other educators to engage students in computer science and information technology.

Shea notes that, while there is growing recognition that computer science and information technology are crucial academic subjects and expanding sectors of the economy, little formal preparation exists for pre-college educators. New York acknowledged as much in 2012 when it added information technology to its list of now eight “high needs area” eligible for funding.

Yet, New York at this point does not have a certification track for k-12 computer science teachers, even though many school districts, including all districts in New York City, are planning to require that computer science be taught in their K-12 curricula.

“Clearly, there is a need for more formal opportunities for teachers to learn computer science principles and pedagogy that can help introduce students to computer science in engaging ways,” said Shea, an associate professor in Educational Theory and Practice and UAlbany’s Associate Provost for Online Learning.

“We see an opportunity to reach many such teachers with an online graduate certificate that includes our partners in the Department of Informatics.”

Faculties from the two departments will work together on curricular changes and new course development. Shea said the new program will go online in Fall 2017.

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