A photo of a student teacher teaching in an elementary classroom

The Pathways program at the College of Education is celebrating its fourth anniversary with impressive achievements.

By Rachel Renou, COE Grad Assistant | Published November 25, 2019

YPSILANTI- Have you ever thought about becoming a teacher? Has anyone ever told you that they thought you would be an effective teacher? Want to be agent of change in your community? Check out teaching as a career. It’s rewarding, fulfilling, and has a major impact on children, families, and communities. You can make a big difference.

Four years ago, Dean Micheal Sayler established Pathways for Future Educators to identify and recruit future teachers among students in urban middle schools and high schools. The program was designed to support the students and pave their admission path to enter the Teacher Preparation Program in the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University. Pathways started with only four urban schools as partners, but now has 16 partner schools in Michigan.

“Teaching is a career that truly makes a difference,” said Regina George, the director of Pathways. “When recruiting, we are looking for middle- or high-school students who have the desire to make the world, and especially their own community, a better place. We are looking for young men and women who want to feel that their work makes a significant difference and are not simply seeking a job in which they can be successful. Teaching means giving back to the community, and to some degree – changing the world.”

Pathways brings education ambassadors from EMU, usually current Pathways students, to visit our partner schools on career days and college days, and to host students who come to EMU for a visit. The ambassadors often present a panel discussion about their personal experiences of going to college and becoming a teacher. The meeting between our ambassadors and the middle- and high-school students is a very enriching experience for both.

Nowadays, teachers have to do more than ever before, said George. This is why the 40 career-ambassadors’ students, who are mostly volunteers, feel their participation in finding future teachers is so very important. They love inspiring others and sharing what they have found to be the beautiful secrets of teaching and the personal support they get at EMU.

“The program truly supports our EMU students, and builds their confidence and competence while engaging with younger students as an educator,” Said George. “It nurtures and feeds their dream of working a teacher.”

The middle- and high-school students who become part of Pathways receive scholarships specific to the program in addition to the many scholarships available to EMU students in general. The extra support encourages Pathways’ students to come to EMU, to stay and be successful as a student, and graduate as a new teacher.

Some of the scholarship support for the program comes from the College of Education. An additional source of funding is a Morris Hood, Jr. State of Michigan grant which provides an additional incentive of $500 a semester for up to five years. The award provides support for economically or academically disadvantaged students throughout their years of preparation to be a professional educator.

Another new scholarship program grew out of the long-time collaboration with the Mandell and Madeline Berman Foundation and the College of Education. The Berman scholarship is for Pathways students who graduated from a Detroit high school or live in Detroit. This new scholarship program will begin in the fall of 2019.

George said that one of the Pathway program’s next goals is to create a summer camp for future teachers who are still attending high school. Such a camp would will give high-school students a taste of the life of an educator and provide them with an on-campus college experience.

Recently, schools in rural areas have also become Pathways partners. Rural schools face many of the same problems as urban schools in recruiting and retaining effective teachers. Both the urban and the rural Pathway options are a reflection of EMU’s 150 year legacy as a university