Augustana education grads have made a name for themselves, and their alma mater.
“We get inquiries from school administrators across the country asking about graduates,” said Dr. Michael Schroeder, education professor. “There’s a demand for Augustana teachers. Our placement rate is 100 percent.”
There’s a method, of course, behind what makes great students great teachers. At Augustana, it begins with an emphasis on relationships and mentoring. Students form close ties with peers and professors — both personally and professionally — that remain strong long after graduation, creating an ongoing network for professional development.
A good example is the Beginning Teachers Workshop, a 23-year tradition at Augustana. Education alumni, all active in the field as teachers and administrators, volunteer to return to campus, reconnect with professors, and share their experiences in a series of mentoring workshops for the college’s aspiring teachers. The alumni, as eyes and ears in the field, provide critical updates on emerging trends, best practices and classroom culture.
“School districts tell us they would love to have more Augustana graduates.”
Hundreds of graduates have taken their turn to contribute in a spirit of service and leadership. Some return year after year. “To my knowledge, nobody else among colleges holds an event like this,” said Dr. Schroeder. “It’s unique to Augustana.”
For Augustana students who discover this network of relationships, the benefits are obvious.
“We have great connections with these different alumni, and you can see the connections they have with the professors,” said Sylvia Harvin '23, majoring in secondary education and math. “It shows how important the education program really is to them, how much they feel they learned from it, and how they’re still part of the Augustana community even though some of them left the school more than 10 years ago.”
Augustana also enjoys a special relationship with the school districts within reach of its students. Its location in the Quad Cities, with a diverse metropolitan hub of close to 450,000 people surrounded by smaller towns and rural areas, is key. Students have easy access to the entire range of education environments in schools that can be urban, suburban and rural with a range of available resources.
At the same time, the demand for Augustana’s student teachers is so high, the students can choose not only the school but also the particular teacher with whom they would like to work. The result is a singular opportunity for student teaching — clinical experience under teachers at the very top of their fields.
It’s one more asset that sets the college apart, and one more reason Augustana graduates are in such high demand.
“School districts tell us they would love to have more Augustana graduates,” Dr. Schroeder said. “They know the skill level, the personal quality and the commitment these graduates will bring to them.”