Kenyon has formed a partnership with Capital University’s education program in Columbus that will allow Kenyon students to pursue a teaching certificate alongside their traditional degree. Such certificates are required for those hoping to teach in public high schools, the main goal of many Kenyon students interested in education.
A sizable proportion of Kenyon alumni enter careers in education. In the past 20 years, over eight percent of surveyed alumni reported teaching as their primary profession, significantly more than any other field. However, Kenyon still lacks a formal track for students to progress toward a teaching certificate.
Instead, alumni frequently apply to master’s degree programs or join organizations like AmeriCorps or City Year. These programs may offer real-world experience, but they do not replace certificate requirements. They can also come with serious expenses, including tuition, living costs and lost earnings.
For Professor of Physics and Director of Laboratories Gordon Loveland ’89, who is spearheading the partnership, the lack of more viable options is personal; when he graduated from Kenyon he experienced firsthand the limitations placed on Kenyon graduates who want to pursue teaching. “I went through the teaching path and didn’t do certification,” Loveland said. “I wanted to have a program like this, so that current students could actually have the advantages that lots of us from the past hadn’t.”
When program facilitators reached out to alumni in the teaching field, they shared widespread support for expanding students’ options. “The need is there,” Loveland said, “and so that’s what we’re trying to facilitate.”
Beyond pragmatic and professional concerns, this program could also encourage more students to develop or deepen their passion for teaching.
Professor of American Studies Peter Rutkoff, who helped develop the foundations of the partnership, said, “I think it’s entirely compatible with Kenyon’s mission to support public education. I think it gives us access to a world that Kenyon students can make a significant contribution to.”
The structure of the partnership will allow Kenyon students to take the classes required to qualify for a teaching certificate over the course of two summers at Capital University, primarily between their years studying at Kenyon.
According to Rutkoff, the program would serve as a complement to existing options at Kenyon, not a replacement. It could potentially include an off-campus study element as well, where students would be placed in Columbus for a semester of hands-on student teaching. Students could also pursue in-school experiences over summers or in the fall following their graduation.
Per current conversations, Capital University would provide summer or off-campus semester housing as part of its program costs, and students would receive significantly discounted tuition.
However, initial institutional aid would not be available. In the long term, “the intent is to have the financial wherewithal to be able to help students have aid,” Loveland said.
As the program grows, those involved will continue to reassess how to expand funding and support for interested students.
Currently, Kenyon’s curricular committee is reviewing an outline of the program. According to President Decatur and involved faculty, a pilot version will tentatively launch next summer.
For now, Loveland said, “if students are interested in teaching as a professor, they should talk to the chair of their major department to say they’re interested. To really gauge how much interest there is in going through a program like this, or just people who are wanting to go into teaching, is important.”