Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College program to combat agriculture teacher shortage

The Albany Herald, Ga.
·2 min read

Apr. 3—TIFTON — The Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is providing opportunities to combat the shortage of agricultural educators in Georgia. ABAC and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission have collaborated to provide a one-year teaching certification program for agricultural education.

Frank Flanders, coordinator of the agricultural education program at ABAC, said the post-baccalaureate teacher certification program is targeted toward students who have completed or are in the process of completing a bachelor of science degree in any area of agriculture.

"This program is one of the quickest to complete and one of the most inexpensive for students," Flanders said. "It contains all the recommended coursework for a beginning teacher."

Students enrolled in the certification program will be on the ABAC campus for a fall semester to take education classes, pedagogy and instruction, community development, and agricultural education practicum courses.

In the spring, students are placed with an experienced agricultural educator in a Georgia public school. Flanders said student teaching sites are available all over the state, and administrators try to accommodate those who wish to be placed near their hometowns.

Currently, the first two students to enroll in the program are completing their student teaching in the classroom.

Andrew Thoron, department head of Agricultural Education and Communication, said the program offers a way for those with a B.S. degree in agriculture to enter the classroom as a certified teacher, and it helps Georgia close the gap in the agriculture teacher shortage.

"This is how ABAC offers an additional path to traditional agriculture teacher certification," Thoron said. "In our traditional program, we have been preparing over 30 new teachers annually, and it is the biggest program in the state."

There is expected growth for this certification program in the upcoming year. Flanders said several prospective graduates have already inquired about the program for the 2022 cohort.

To qualify for the program, participants must have a B.S. in any area of agriculture or forestry and natural resources, a minimum grade-point average of 2.5, and either pass or exempt the GACE program admissions test.

For more information, interested persons can contact Ridge Harper, assessment and certification coordinator for the department, at jbharper@abac.edu.