Budget challenges cause USF to shift College of Education’s focus to graduate programs

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The University of South Florida’s College of Education will be undergoing some significant changes within the next year.

In an email, Professor and Interim Dean Judith A. Ponticell wrote that USF’s COE will be reimagined and reconfigured after facing significant budget challenges in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As part of our strategic budget renewal process, USF must reduce the College of Education’s annual budget allocation by $6.8 million (or 35%) over two years, a challenging task that demands a comprehensive assessment as we plan for the future of education at USF,” Ponticell said.

The COE will change to a more focused Graduate School of Education and will be associated with the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.

Moving forward, Professor and Provost Ralph Wilcox said this change will not impact current students as the university will continue to support them through their graduation.

Wilcox also noted a significant decrease in enrollment in the COE, both for undergraduate and graduate degrees. He also said USF is not the first to make this change, mentioning that the University of Florida made a similar shift a few years back.

USF Education students will now be able to earn teacher certification through a Master of Arts in Teaching degree which may be completed in a fifth year following a baccalaureate degree in a content area.

“Re-envisioning the College of Education as a graduate school enables us to leverage our strengths in our master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degree programs, and to place a stronger emphasis on research opportunities and contributions to our important PreK-12 partners and beyond,” Ponticell wrote.

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