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UNC's Answer to the Teacher Shortage: Future Teacher Conference Bigger than Ever

Past Future Teacher Conference event

February 12, 2019

In a never-ending quest to end the teaching shortage in Colorado and nationwide, the University of Northern Colorado is hosting the 5th annual Future Teacher Conference on Friday, Feb. 22.

This year’s capacity crowd of future teachers is a promising sign. Nearly 550 high school and community college students will descend upon UNC to participate in this much anticipated teaching conference. This is an increase of nearly 500 students since the annual conference began just four years ago. This year a parent seminar was added to help parents understand the first steps in the college process. UNC’s first-year President Andy Feinstein will provide a welcome and introduce this year’s Colorado Teacher of the Year, Meg Cypress, a UNC alumna. 

The conference offers the opportunity for students to learn more about teaching in specific areas, including early childhood, elementary and secondary education, special education, urban education, rural education, culturally linguistic and diverse education, music and art education, and educational psychology. UNC faculty and current K-12 teachers from partner schools will lead sessions on a variety of educational topics. Participants represent over 70 high schools throughout Colorado. UNC is committed to reaching out to all interested high school and community college students seeking information on becoming a teacher.Future Teacher logo

The conference is just one of the ways UNC, the state’s leader in preparing educators, is responding to support prospective and current teachers and to provide possible solutions to the current teaching shortage. The Future Teachers Conference is a part of the UNC Teaching Network. Within this network there are two other programs: Aspiring Teachers and Inspiring Teachers:

  • The Aspiring Teachers @ UNC: Growing Educators through Concurrent Enrollment is a program designed to a “grow our own” group of future teachers who more closely reflect and understand the population of the rural community in which they live.  The program aspires to make a career in teaching more accessible to rural high school students through concurrent enrollment and provide an opportunity to return and give back to their own communities.
  • The last part of the network, in development, will be The Inspiring Teachers program comprised of UNC alumni teachers. The goal of this program will be to create a community that offers support, networking, resources, and professional development to our practicing teachers as they navigate the early years of the teaching profession. 

"We know that getting teachers into the pipeline is only half the battle; we need to find innovative ways to support teachers from college and into their first through fifth years of teaching," said Suzette Youngs and Chris Kyser, co-organizers of the Future Teacher Conference. “We know that new teachers and teacher candidates persist when they feel a sense of belonging and the goal is to bring groups of aspiring and current teachers together, creating a bridge from high school through college to the first years of teaching. The first years are a critical time in teaching, and we hope our conference and network will provide the support teachers need to succeed. We strive to build a community of teachers.”

For more information about the conference, visit: unco.edu/cebs/future-teacher

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