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IWU hosts teacher visit day

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LET’S TALK: An admissions panel at Indiana Wesleyan University answer questions from prospective students about life at IWU on Monday. From left to right: Academic Counselor Rachel McHenry, students Kylee Longenbaugh and Ashley Johns and faculty member Sarah Jones.
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CAMPUS ENROLLMENT: Ian Slater, director of enrollment management at IWU-Marion Admissions, hosts a panel for prospective students at Indiana Wesleyan University on Monday.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Aspiring teachers visited Indiana Wesleyan University on Monday to see what teaching programs the university has to offer.

The Spotlight Visit Day focused on IWU’s fully-accredited School of Teacher Education. Interested visitors explored majoring in education. They were invited to tour facilities, meet faculty and current students among other activities. These kids of visits serve as a bridge between the university and prospective students, officials say.

Speaking on pedagogy at the university, Ian Slater, an IWU-Marion Admissions director, said IWU offers students opportunities to immerse themselves in the world of teaching.

“We provide an incredibly robust program involving students in local assignments in their first year through their senior year,” Slater said. “We have a strong relationship with schools across this part of the state who find students to be exceptionally well prepared.”

According to Slater, the university is actively thinking toward program outcomes, not just students’ academic grades.

Visit days like today allow prospective students to engage with current students, exposing them to program faculty and the kind of academic rigors future students can expect to undergo.

According to Slater, visit days also provide students an opportunity to really get to know the university before making a long-term commitment.

“(I use the) analogy of Cedar Point,” Slater said. “You wouldn’t go to Cedar Point if all the rides are shut down and expect to have a good day. You want to see what campus life is like and what the classroom experience is like before buying a ticket.”

According to Slater, education is the second largest program area at the university with more than 300 students enrolled. He said the largest program is nursing.

“Hopefully we will be able to show prospective parents and students what is distinctive about us so they will consider us more (seriously),” said Jim Elsberry, dean of the School of Teacher Education.

On what makes IWU distinctive, Elsberry said it comes down to worship.

“We see teaching as a redemptive act,” he added. “We believe we are a faithful institution. God gives us gifts and calls to us, (which includes) teaching.”

During part of the visit day students were able to join a class, one of which was Elsberry’s.

The purpose is to see what university classes are like and how they compare to student’s high school experiences, he said.

There’s also a student panel, which according to Elsberry is likely the most valuable part of the day for prospective students.

“I can’t tell them what student life is like (anymore),” he said. “I can’t see it from a student perspective anymore.”

During the panel, student Kylee Longenbaugh explained how the university immediately pushes students into teaching for themselves, which is “unheard of” at other universities. While nervewracking, she said, it was great for her growth as a teacher. 

“(IWU) teachers do a great job modeling what it means to be a great teacher,” added student Ashley Johns.

IWU’s School of Teacher Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and its curriculum combines classroom instruction with preschool through twelfth grade teaching placements.

Over the course of their studies, IWU Education majors are able to participate in four levels of field experience from a two-week observation experience to a 14-week student teaching placement.

Majors within the Division of Teacher Education include biology, chemistry, elementary education, exceptional needs education, English, mathematics, music, physical and health education, science, social studies, Spanish, TESOL and the visual arts.