D'Youville College on Buffalo West Side is placing its undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs on hold for at least the next three years. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the college is ready to restructure the program, but current students are not pleased.
“What basically happened is there was a lack of student interest in the program we had,” said Dr. William Mariani, serving as D’Youville’s interim president.
Education was once a hallmark program at the college to train future teachers, but D'Youville has experienced a decline in enrollment for the program.
Mariani tells WBFO News they met with College faculty who told them it is time to retool.
“And the proposal came from the faculty – the faculty leadership, the department chair and others, our dean was involved or vice president of academic affairs, we sat down with our board of trustees and said look – we want to restructure our program – let’s take a pause – let’s not deactivate it -- let’s not get rid of the program, it’s an historical program for our institution,” explained Mariani.
The College is planning to suspend the program for restructuring until at least 2020.
“The real unfortunate thing here is the affect this is having on the students. Students are being asked to find other schools to graduate from right now,” said Dr. Paul Spitale, adjunct faculty member at D’Youville.
Spitale tells us his students are upset. “And all I can really do is make myself available to them and help them transition with the resources I have in the community,” Spitale remarked. “And if you look at the data – this is a reflection on society as a whole – nobody wants to be teacher right now – it’s a thankless, low-paying job.”
Mariani tells us they are working very hard to make sure there is a smooth transition for students to transfer to other colleges.
“We won’t leave you out there. We are going to make sure we take care of you like we do all our students in the institutions. Our dean and the faculty in the department are meeting with the students now to develop a plan for them to help them complete what their goal. responded Mariani. “Our students that are presently in the program and how we are handling them transition either from our institution, in collaboration with three or four other ones here, or how do we help them complete their programs here.”
D’Youville will no longer accept students into the teacher program effective for next semester 2017.
Mariani noted none of the faculty in the department will be 'retrenched' or 'eliminated' and their expertise will be needed. He said D’Youville must face reality to create a new a curriculum to provide future educators with the right skills for future classrooms.