Ridgewater to offer new transfer program this fall for students studying to be teachers

Linda Vanderwerf, West Central Tribune, Willmar, Minn.
·2 min read

Apr. 20—WILLMAR — Ridgewater College has announced new offerings in education courses, beginning this fall.

The school will offer new Transfer Pathway programs in elementary and special education for students planning to be teachers. A transfer pathway is a package of transferable credits approved by Minnesota State. The credits total the first two years of a four-year bachelor's degree. A new Education Foundations Certificate will be available, too.

"Now more than ever, we know how important education is to our community," Missy Majerus, Ridgewater dean of liberal arts and sciences, said in a news release. "By expanding our offerings, we can better serve our students, our community and the state of Minnesota."

Ridgewater's new Education Transfer pathways are each 60 credits, while the Education Foundations Certificate is 17 credits.

"This certificate allows students to look at both elementary education and special education before deciding which pathway is right for them," said instructor Tiffany Bredeson.

Both the Elementary Education and the Special Education Transfer Pathway Associate of Science degrees will give students the flexibility to complete their first two years at Ridgewater College before seamlessly transferring to a participating Minnesota State university.

Ridgewater has offered education programs for more than 40 years, and this announcement expands options.

In the past, Ridgewater offered an Education Paraprofessional Program, an Early Childhood Education associate degree and certificate, and later a Special Education Certificate.

Recently, the college discontinued its Education Paraprofessional Program and restructured its Early Childhood program to better meet student and industry needs.

Cindy Salfer, longtime Ridgewater education instructor, and Bredeson said they were excited about the coming changes. In addition to the new offerings, the current Early Childhood Education Program will become an Early Childhood Education Transfer Pathway associate degree.

Salfer explained that it's very similar in coursework and experience to the original program, but has more flexibility for transferring to five universities in the system. In addition to longtime partner Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, students could transfer to Metropolitan State, Minnesota State — Moorhead, St. Cloud State and Winona State.

Early Childhood Education students who are not interested in transferring will still have the option to enter the workforce with an associate degree. "Students have even more opportunities in Early Childhood with this transition," Salfer said.

For more information about Ridgewater's Education offerings, go to www.ridgewater.edu/education.

To meet the instructors and hear more, there's a virtual education information session from 6 to 7 p.m. April 21. Register for the event link at www.ridgewater.edu/visit

To learn more about Transfer Pathways, go to www.ridgewater.edu/pathways.