The Cannon-Clary College of Education plans to travel with a group of 20 students to New York City for the first time in January 2020 with associate professors of education Steve Warren and Cherie Smith. Though other departments and colleges within Harding University have made trips to the northeastern city, this will be the first trip administered by this college.
Students will have the opportunity to partake in a three-day workshop at Columbia University among other activities, which include observing public school systems within the city, visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Ellis Island, touring Times Square, and various other activities.
However, the main activity that differentiates this trip from other New York City trips, is the workshop with Columbia University. Warren said students will work with the professional development staff of Teachers College at Columbia University and receive a certificate on behalf of the university.
Columbia University has a history that spans 250 years and has a well-respected reputation as a private Ivy League institution. Teachers College is well known for its graduate studies in education, psychology and health sciences, according to Columbia University’s official website.
Students will also have the opportunity to observe the diverse public school systems within the city and witness various methods of teaching.
“Most of our students are not going to teach in Searcy — many of them will teach in environments very different from those that they grew up in, whether they grew up in a Christian school, home-school, or even a rural public school, they may find themselves teaching in very diverse environments,” Dean of the College of Education Raymond Lee said. “This is one other opportunity to get a glimpse into the possibilities of what students may be finding themselves in as teachers.”
Between 1892 and 1954, millions of immigrants arrived in New York Harbor and passed through Ellis Island on their journey to becoming U.S. citizens. It is estimated that up to 40 percent of Americans can trace at least one ancestor to that port of entry, as stated by National Parks Service.
New York has been deemed “The Melting Pot” of cultures, which subsequently makes it the melting pot of religion, art, music and education. With this trip, education students will have the opportunity to witness the combination of cultures firsthand.
“I am excited for my future teachers to get a sense of the American story and the relationship between education, immigration and prosperity,” Warren said.
Lee said education is more than paper, scissors and apples — teachers work in a world that is a very difficult one to navigate with a variety of challenges. This trip is designed to give students a glimpse into that world and what the job will require of them.
Lee emphasized the importance of teachers in their students’ lives.
“Many of our graduates, as they go out into teaching, they may be the only person who will have this degree of influence over students and their families. We view it as a missional opportunity.” Lee said.