Posted on April 2, 2015 by Tia Lalani

A few years ago, Augustana announced a new combined five-year BSc/BEd program: Erin Sharp is the first graduate.

Erin-Sharp-BSc-BEd-15A few years ago, Augustana announced a new degree program in partnership with the Faculty of Education. The combined five-year program equips students with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees, and their placements are in rural or small city schools around Alberta. Erin Sharp is the first graduate of this combined degree program.

Erin graduated from high school in Camrose with a passion for science and the desire to be a teacher. She returned to Camrose from B.C. ten years later with her husband and three children and decided that the new combined BSc/BEd program was perfect for her: she could spend three years in the community before she would have to transfer up to North Campus and finish the Education part of her degree.

“I really enjoyed Augustana,” Erin said. “Being out of school for so long, the class sizes were great because I could actually talk to my teachers. I majored in Math and Physics, though because of the breadth requirement, I found myself taking – and loving! – classes in Art History, Criminology and Environmental Sciences.” Looking back, Erin felt that she was pushed outside her comfort zone and took classes she wouldn’t have otherwise considered. “Now I feel that I could figure out how to teach a wide range of classes – or figure out how to teach them – if I needed to, thanks to my time at Augustana,” she declared.

Erin took a number of community-service learning opportunities as well, including a memorable youth criminal justice class which placed her in the Camrose Boys and Girls Club with the kind of teenagers she wanted to end up teaching.

Erin finished her five year combined degree program early, taking Spring classes at North Campus. This accelerated her program but also ensured she was familiar with the buildings and professors when she transferred to begin the Education part of her degree. “Students and teachers were just as friendly and welcoming as they were at Augustana,” Erin recalls, “though some of my classes had over 200 students in them!”

The combined BSc/BEd program is a very structured degree, where a student chooses their major and then plans their five years to make sure they cover all of their program requirements. “It was a great approach,” Erin said. “I chose my major and learned all about the subject. Then I learned how to teach the subject. Upon finishing my program, I am confident about my ability to teach: I can walk in to a classroom with the skills I have and be successful.”

Through Augustana’s BSc program, the student selects a teaching major from among Biology, Chemistry, General Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Mathematics & Physics, or Physical Sciences. They are able to select a minor in any subject, but are also invited to select a teaching minor that they could bring to their school to improve their prospects.

“It’s nice at Augustana,” Erin said, “because you can get your feet wet with the whole university experience. You can then get specific with what you want to do. It’s nice to be here in the smaller, supportive environment. You can get a feel for doing a bunch of different things without focusing on a single track – but when you do focus, Augustana can help take you all the way there too!”

Afterword: Days after her interview, Erin Sharp was offered a position at Our Lady of Mount Pleasant School in Camrose, teaching junior high math, physical education, language arts and cosmetology. Congratulations, Erin!

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One response to Augustana celebrates our first BSc/BEd graduate

  • Merv Huxford said:
    Apr 5, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    Erin overcame some real challenges and can be a superb example to others. The tremendous support of her Kiwi parents also worthy of acknowledgement