Cowley College would like to extend an invitation to all educators, dignitaries and community members to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 8 for the new Education Center, at the corner of Second Street and Chestnut Avenue in Arkansas City.

Cowley will also announce an exciting new partnership.

The new Cowley College Education Center will provide students the opportunity to have a hands-on face-to-face learning experience.

The ribbon-cutting is at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a program of speakers. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

“Come help us celebrate this new adventure and enjoy all that this building has to offer,” Cowley Director of Early Childhood Education Janet Davidson said.

The facility will be used to train preschool and secondary education teachers.

“The community has been hungry for additional support to help care for preschool age children,” Cowley president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle said. “We view this as a good partnership (with Central Christian Church) that will provide the future workforce for a Child Care Center.”

With the majority of Cowley’s early childhood education courses being conducted online due to the unavailability of lab space, the finance sub-committee and academic sub-committee decided there was a need for face-to-face training to allow students an opportunity to take classes in the community versus online.

“This is an exciting step forward for the Education Departments at Cowley College,” director of child care and development/early childhood education Janet Davidson said. “The Central Christian Church has been a joy to work with. I appreciate all of the parties involved that came together to make this happen. Having a dedicated space on campus for an education lab-classroom will improve the quality of the program, provide the ability to create solid partnerships and increase the visibility within our wonderful community.”

Elementary education teachers continue to be in demand as veteran teachers prepare for retirement. Teacher education programs for elementary education degrees and licensure focus on comprehensive curriculum content and pedagogical practices to prepare future teachers for teaching any grade level from kindergarten through sixth grade.

Cowley works closely with universities to design the associate of arts degree options which meet their specific entrance requirements.

The faculty is confident that Cowley will see an increase in overall enrollment in both programs of study and an increase in face-to-face course deliveries because of the dedicated classroom space.

The agreement between the college and Central Christian Church will also allow more flexibility in scheduling not only Cowley coursework, but also continuing education opportunities for college faculty and local teachers.

“Having the space will allow for more interdisciplinary activities within the Education courses,” director of education Julie Rhoads said. “Other opportunities will include stronger partnerships with one or more four year universities for distance learning and there will exist the potential to create a new education pathway that is unique to other offerings in the state. We are excited to announce one of those creative partnerships at this event that will be implemented this fall so we highly encourage our educational partners to attend simply for this announcement.”

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