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Marietta College has created a new pathway for future graduates to help reduce the shortage of qualified teachers in public schools in Ohio and around the U.S.

Recently, the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) approved a STEM licensure route that should help with the shortage of high school science and mathematics teachers.

“We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with the Geology Program that allowed us to add this new licensure area to our other licensure programs in grades 7-12,” said Dr. Tanya Judd, Education Department Chair.

This addition will allow teacher candidates at Marietta College to have the full range of choices for licensure in all STEM-related fields at the high school level.

“The ODHE also approved a dual licensure option for all (Adolescent Young Adult) programs at Marietta College, which would include a grades 7-12 Intervention Specialist (Special Education) license in Ohio, along with their licenses for general education in their content area,” Judd said. “This new Earth Space science program can add this Special Education license with an additional 20 credit hours.”

Dr. Andrew Beck, Associate Professor of Geology, said the Earth and Space Science licensure is unique in that it asks teachers to be experts in two science fields — astronomy and geology.

“Astronomy includes topics like orbital patterns, black holes, etc., and geology includes topics like the rocks cycle, environmental science, plate tectonics, etc.,” he said. “As such, teachers with Earth and Space licensures traditionally come from one of those two educational backgrounds, but not both.”

Since Marietta’s Earth and Space licensure comes from the Planetary Science degree, any student who earns the licensure will have experience in both geology and astronomy.

“So, instead of a single field of study, students exit the program with a strong background in both fields,” Beck said. “Further, Marietta is involved in NASA planetary science exploration missions, exposing students in the program to cutting-edge developments in the field. Finally, since the Planetary Science degree requires a diverse breadth of courses, education students with a Planetary Science degree are not only able to teach Earth and Space Science in middle school, but also Physical Science, Physical Geology, Environmental Science, and Physics at the high school level.”

Marietta College’s Education Program has consistently ranked among the best in Ohio. Judd said the College will begin offering the Earth-Space licensure program as well as dual licensure options in all high school content areas in the Fall 2023 semester.