In fall 2008, the Center for Undergraduate Teacher Preparation was created at Loyola Marymount University to be a resource for students planning a career in education. As of fall 2009, over 130 students have relied on CUTP, and the numbers are increasing every month. CUTP staff offer support, provide opportunities for volunteering and student get-togethers, and help students to be sure they are taking classes in the correct sequence.
Rowena Robles, PhD, interim senior director of the CUTP, said that for students who ultimately pursue a teaching credential, about 80 percent know that they want to be teachers when they enroll as freshmen. For the other 20 percent “something clicks later.” The center’s numbers are growing steadily as more students learn about the resources offered. The CUTP Web site notes, “We envision CUTP as a vibrant community that draws together all who are interested in education.”
LMU students can earn a teaching credential in elementary education or secondary education. Bilingual education and special education are offered as concentrations that students can choose as well. The credential programs are designed to graduate students in four years. Students spend their last semester student teaching after all requirements for their degree have been completed.
“We’ve been trying to foster a sense of community among the students in the center,” said Robles. A monthly newsletter features a student of the month and CUTP speaker nights are planned to bring current students together and bring back alumni to discuss their teaching experiences. CUTP also started a partnership with a local middle school where students can participate in service projects.