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OC, UTPB Open New Pipeline for Teacher Training

College presidents stand together holding a sign announcing the new training program.


On Wednesday afternoon, leaders from Odessa College and the University of Texas Permian Basin announced a new, innovative effort to help fill the critical need for teachers in West Texas. Dubbed “OC 2 UTPB Teaching in 3” this program is designed to shepherd students studying education to becoming a certified, highly qualified teacher in three years. This partnership between Odessa’s institutions of higher learning opens one more avenue to train new teachers.

“We are in a critical situation,” said OC President Dr. Gregory Williams. “This teacher shortage is a crisis. We need to start thinking that way and to respond that way.”

UTPB President Dr. Sandra Woodley said this is one more way the university can fulfill its mission to serve the region. “The Permian Basin needs teachers. I thought this was a very innovative, creative plan that I could really get behind.”

Students will take the first year-and-a-half of classes at OC, then the second year-and-a-half at UTPB. They will focus on two classes at a time in an accelerated format. It will include heavy emphasis on professional development and clinical hours in a classroom so they understand their working environment. Upon successfully completing the 1½ years of Odessa College courses, the students will graduate from OC with their Associate of Arts Degree in Teaching. Then after successfully completing their 1½ years of UT Permian Basin courses, the students will earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with EC-6 Certification.

New Ector County ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Muri sees this collaboration as one more example of the community rallying behind the need for great school systems. “OC 2 UTPB Teaching in 3” focuses on growing great teachers from West Texas to work in West Texas. Those who care about their community and desire to change lives here.

“It creates two amazing opportunities for us,” said Dr. Muri. “One is for our students who want to go into education; it opens an exciting pathway to a noble calling. It also opens doors to putting highly qualified educators in classrooms across ECISD.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Williams urged those interested in becoming teachers to pursue it enthusiastically. “For some reason, we have stopped believing as much as we need to in teachers and the profession of teaching. Other professions suffer tremendously without great teachers. Let’s begin to celebrate and honor those people who are teachers.”