Mercer, Oglethorpe Universities Partner on 4+1 Bridge Program in Education

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Oglethorpe University and Mercer University are partnering to offer a 4+1 Bridge Program in Education, which began at the start of the current semester in January. The new program provides Oglethorpe undergraduates the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from Oglethorpe and a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree from Mercer, as well as initial teaching credentials in Georgia over the course of approximately five years of full-time study.

Oglethorpe, founded in Atlanta in 1835, is a liberal arts and sciences university that offers more than 60 areas of study, as well as an Individually Planned Major (IPM) program, that lead to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) or Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (B.A.L.S.) degree.

“Teaching is projected to see more growth than any other profession in Georgia,” said Dr. John Nardo, associate provost and professor of mathematics at Oglethorpe. “Many of our students wish to pursue a career in education after completing their degrees at Oglethorpe. A partnership with Mercer gives our students direct access to a top-notch education program and streamlines the process to earn a graduate degree and enter the workforce."

Mercer’s Tift College of Education is the largest private preparer of educators in Georgia and offers undergraduate and graduate courses in Atlanta, Macon, Douglas County, Henry County and online.

“When Dr. Nardo first approached us about this possibility, we knew it would be a wonderful opportunity for both institutions,” said Dr. Allison Gilmore, associate dean and professor of education at Mercer. “It was great to meet the first group of prospective Oglethorpe students and welcome our first Oglethorpe teacher candidate into the program for spring semester classes.”

Mercer’s M.A.T. program offers three specializations designed to provide a comprehensive study of the specialized skills and knowledge needed to teach and support students in early childhood, middle grades and secondary education. Additionally, Mercer offers a fourth specialization in secondary education – STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The program offers a wide scope of course content that focuses on theoretical and pedagogical issues while incorporating research, assessment and technology integration. Diverse field experiences help to prepare teachers to support the diverse needs of students.

This new partnership will allow Oglethorpe students who meet certain eligibility requirements to participate in an accelerated program of study beginning as juniors that will allow them to take both Oglethorpe and Mercer courses as seniors and earn the M.A.T. degree and Georgia teaching certification following a fifth year of coursework solely at Mercer.