Education college creates new position

Merry Cooper

A new College of Education position has been created this year to help handle the increase in requirements for teachers at both the state and federal level.

Jeannette Olson, program coordinator for curriculum and instruction, has been named the College of Education’s Teacher Education Program coordinator.

“In order to keep track of these changes and implement them well, we needed to add another faculty member,” said Jackie Blount, associate dean of the College of Education.

Olson’s work spans a wide spectrum of duties.

Some of the new requirements the state of Iowa has implemented include the Praxis I and Praxis II exams. Olson said she will oversee the implementation of these tests.

The Praxis I is test of basic skills for students who apply to the Teacher Education Program. The Praxis II, a state requirement that took effect Aug. 31, is taken by students in their last semester of classes or who are student teaching to obtain licensure.

“I’ve had to track down all the students doing their student teaching this semester so that they got registered to take the test this semester,” Olson said.

Another of Olson’s main duties will be to improve communication across the Teacher Education Programs.

“Teacher Education is not just in the College of Education,” she said. “Four other colleges offer teacher education programs as well. I want to make sure everyone gets the same information.”

Olson also will be keeping the Teacher Education Handbook updated, she said.

“I make sure that changes with state law and requirements get in the handbook,” she said. “It’s my responsibility to make sure that the catalog, the handbook and the Web site are consistent.”

In order to keep the handbook updated, Olson said, she has to keep an eye on state legislatures to find out what is going on in other states.

One of her goals, Olson said, is to expand the Teacher Education Web site.

“I want to make sure it’s more user friendly and easier for people to find answers to their questions,” she said.

Olson began her position as Teacher Education Program coordinator Sept. 17. She is also still teaching a strategies in a teaching lecture this semester.

Although her job has run smoothly so far, Olson said she expects her biggest obstacle to be in the dispersion of information across the different programs.

“Since education is so scattered on campus, it’s a challenge to have all departments learn about changes in a timely fashion,” Olson said.

“Right now, I’m trying to meet with all of the different groups, and it’s tough making everyone’s schedule coordinate.”

Olson was chosen for this position because of her experience in both education at Iowa State, as well as in public grade schools.

“She knows what life is like in the classroom,” said Bount, associate professor of curriculum and instruction. “She also has impeccable graduate credentials – she has studied in innovative programs with top-notch faculty.”

Olson has been working at Iowa State for the past seven years as a temporary instructor, teaching foundations classes, strategies in teaching, and principles and issues in secondary education.

Olson wasn’t necessarily looking for a change, she said, but when the opportunity arose, it made a good fit with her personal and work life.

“I saw it as another way to serve students and do what I can to make sure that their experience at Iowa State is a quality one,” she said.