Catawba College's Academy for Teaching, named in honor of former teacher education faculty member and College trustee Shirley Peeler Ritchie, was established in 2007 to answer the ongoing need for excellent teachers and to further enhance the outstanding Teacher Education department at Catawba.
The Academy began with 14 new Teaching Scholars in 2007 and at the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year has 67 scholars in four cohorts. In spring of 2011 the Academy for Teaching saw its first graduating class of West Scholars. Nine of the graduating cohort are currently placed in teaching positions across North Carolina and the tenth is in graduate school.
Applicants for a West Scholarship through the Academy are expected to demonstrate leadership, community involvement, and a commitment to teaching. They are designated as Martha Kirkland West Teaching Scholars in honor of another former teacher education faculty member and College trustee.
The Academy, part of the Teacher Education Department, is directed by Assistant Professor and former N.C. Teacher of the Year, Dr. Cynthia Osterhus. By the 2010-2011 academic year, Osterhus predicts as many as 60 Martha Kirkland West Teaching Scholars will be enrolled in the Academy.
The Academy's focus is on equipping its participants with 21st Century teaching skills. Extensive field experiences are offered to Teaching Scholars, beginning in their first year. Teaching Scholars are also involved in the community in leadership development and service learning. Regional travel is part of the program including, travel within the state of North Carolina, in order to help make students aware of the cultural diversity. A wellness program is also part of the Academy — "part of the way we mentor and work with our students in the program is to encourage good nutrition and exercise and connect the importance of good health to effective teaching and learning."
Contact us for more details on Catawba's Teacher Education program, the Shirley Peeler Ritchie Academy for Teaching or the Martha Kirkland West Teaching Scholars.