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New Associate of Arts in Teaching

Release Date: 11/21/2005

CONTACT: Sylvia Blair
Community Relations Coordinator/
Web Editor

Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Approves
New Degree Program at Carroll Community College

Associate of Arts in Teaching-Early Childhood Education 
Formally Begins in Spring, 2006

In response to what has been described by the Maryland State Department of Education as a critical need in education, Carroll Community College (Carroll) has developed a new degree program to prepare teachers for careers in working with children ages birth to third grade.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) approved the new Associate of Arts in Teaching-Early Childhood Education degree on Oct. 24, 2005.

"Although Carroll offers associate of arts and associate of applies sciences degrees in early childhood education, the new A.A.T. degree offers some real advantages for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college/university in Maryland,"  said Libby Little, chairperson, Academic Services, Education, and Fine Arts. The program has been developed with a consortium of higher education faculty and administrators to create a curriculum in which courses at the community college are automatically accepted by four-year institutions. This is known as a "seamless" transfer between institutions.

"The beauty of this arrangement is that graduates from Carroll do not have to take extra courses when they leave here. Students will enter their transfer institutions as juniors, which allows them to complete their baccalaureate degrees in a more timely fashion. Then, they are ready to become educators," said Little.

"It is absolutely vital that community colleges support the development of new teachers, who are so needed in this county, in our state, and throughout the nation," said Dr. Faye Pappalardo, president of Carroll. "The college is taking an important step to assist in the preparation of skilled new teachers by offering this new program."

"The program features specific outcomes that all programs of its type will fulfill. We are very fortunate that our early childhood program faculty specialist, Marlene Welch, was co-chair of the team of community college and university faculty who designed this high- quality program. Marlene Welch is a recognized leader within early childhood circles in Maryland and did a wonderful job leading this team," said Dr. James Ball, vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, and dean of the faculty.

Associate Professor Susan Sies said that the advent of all-day kindergarten in schools has created a greater demand for high-quality teachers to educate this new population of students. "A strong early childhood education experience leads to a better quality of education," said Sies. "Children's minds are impressionable at an early age. The all-day kindergarten program highlights the importance of early childhood education teachers with an academic understanding of children's development."

The program features courses in child growth and development, introduction to early childhood education, introduction to special education, and field experience in a public school setting.

"Early childhood education is the first rung of the ladder in the climb toward educational success," said Associate Professor Marlene Welch. "Why not provide the best instruction for children in their most formative years?"

For more information about the new program, call Marlene Welch at 410-386-8525
or e-mail


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