Many students’ worry about what they will do after college. If you’re part of Butler’s College of Education, rest assured.
COE students can smile through the economic downturn, as it boasted a 100 percent placement rate from December 2009 to May 2010.
Sue Stahl, COE director of student personal services, said 102 students graduated as program preparers—meaning the students received a basic teaching license from the COE—and 100 of them are now either employed in teaching positions, a non-education position or going to graduate school.
She said the other two students were not seeking employment as one was a “happy new mother” and the other was finishing up a novel.
“It is evidence of the quality of our teacher education programs and the high caliber of students at Butler University,” Ena Shelley, COE Dean, said. “The challenges in education have never been greater, but our continued placement rate shows that our students are prepared and are successful.”
Shelley said the COE was not the only university factor involved in the placement rate success.
“I do want to add a note of thanks to all of the faculty in [Liberal Arts and Sciences] and [Jordan College of Fine Arts] who played a significant role in preparing our students as well,” Shelley said. “Building on a strong liberal arts foundation makes our students better prepared for the demands of teaching.”
Once they have that liberal arts foundation, Stahl said she encourages students to introduce themselves as a Butler graduate within the first meeting of each potential employer.
“This statement alone opens many doors because of the reputation Butler and the COE has,” she said. “Our teacher prep programs are well known for being thorough and successful.”
Danielle Konigsbacher, a 2010 Butler graduate is now teaching 8th grade language arts at Lynhurst 7th and 8th Grade Center.
“There is history of Butler graduates being excellent teachers in the Indianapolis community,” she said. “I think just being able to say ‘I am from Butler’ causes schools to want to call me in for an interview.
“Another great thing about the COE is that it connects students to the school districts around Indianapolis through many intensive field experiences.
“I felt like I knew at least one teacher from all the major districts that I could call to ask for a recommendation to their HR department after I sent in an application.”
Stahl said she feels success like Konigsbacher’s relates to the “connectiveness” the program has to the education community.
She said the students establish those connections from their freshman year and it continues past graduation.
Stahl said of the 100 graduates, 62 hold an Indiana teaching position, 19 are teaching out of state, 11 are in graduate school or taking prerequisites for graduate school and eight hold non-education positions such as being involved with independent tutoring, coaching or the Peace Corps.
“The choice of where to go is left up to the student,” she said. “But we present them opportunities.”
Stahl said the COE takes it’s students to an international job fair as well as providing two full days of on-campus interviews with potential employers.
She said many students stay in Indiana because in many cases they have already made connections with those employers during their undergraduate careers.
The college contacts every graduate in a “person-to-person” manner, whether through email or a phone call, to keep up with their career tracks.
Stahl said only last week, recent graduate Caitlin Schmitz contacted her to let the COE know of her new job with Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Schmitz, facing a tough Illinois job market, was subbing in the Chicago area when a position in the education department at Shedd opened up, Stahl said.
“She was able to take her teaching background and use in a setting beyond a classroom setting,” Stahl said.
Schmitz, whose official title at the Shedd Aquarium is museum science educator, will start Oct. 11.
“I will work in accordance with Chicago Public Schools teachers in a mentoring program to promote science education as well as develop and oversee various professional development opportunities the Shedd Aquarium and their associated partners offer,” Schmitz said.
Schmitz credits her Butler professors for giving her the inspiration to think outside of the box and for instilling a drive and excitement to enter the education world.
“My professors at Butler gave me the inspiration I needed to go beyond what I think is possible,” she said. “It’s not necessarily the push that drove me, but the excitement and encouragement I received from my professors in making a difference in the education world.
Schmitz said the COE influenced her to begin applying for career opportunities early within her senior year by providing constant resources as well as résumé and cover letter help.
“Without their knowledge and constant uplifting of my confidence, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today,” Schmitz said.
It is opportunities like Schmitz’ that promote the positive approach to the career field the COE leaves within its graduates, Stahl said.
“Because of [Butler’s] quality of candidates, quality of leadership in college, quality of faculty and quality of programs, I wouldn’t expect any less of our graduates in years to come,” she said. “This year, even in a challenging economy, our students were thinking positively and created their own opportunities.”
Shelley said COE students will be ahead of the game when it comes to wading through the tough job market.
“I think the success rate will continue because schools are desperately seeking out ‘the best and the brightest,’ she said. “Fortunately, that is exactly what we offer in the COE.”