NEW ULM - Martin Luther College welcomes many new faces to campus as the school year begins.
Some will fill new positions, some will serve in the new Early Childhood Learning Center, and others will fill positions of retirees, according to Public Relations Director Bill Pekrul.
The new faculty includes an admissions counselor, a tutor, professors of early childhood, theology/history, new teacher induction/continuing education, physical education, education, special education and music, a vice president for mission advancement, and early childhood lead teachers.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
A 15,000-square-foot Early Childhood Center is under construction for Martin Luther College in New Ulm. The center will train teachers for early childhood programs in schools operated by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. It is located at the corner of Fifth North and Highland.
Congregations have opened pre-schools and learning centers in record numbers, and they are coming to MLC for their ECE teachers and directors, said Pekrul.
To meet this need, MLC is enrolling more ECE majors, with a jump from 62 to 115 in the last six years and building a new 15,000-square-foot Early Childhood Center, a school to train them.
The project was enabled by some $3 million in donations.
The dedication of the ECLC is Sunday, Oct. 27 at 1 p.m.
Special education major
More and more WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) schools are serving children with special needs such as medical, developmental, emotional, behavioral or learning difficulties, notes Pekrul. To meet this need, the MLC Governing Board approved the addition of a special education undergraduate major in February 2013.
School leaders envision a number of MLC students double-majoring in elementary education and special education, equipping each to serve as a regular classroom teacher and also as a resource for the school's special-needs children, their parents and faculty members.
Prof. Daryl Hanneman, who has taught special education courses in the graduate program, has accepted a position to teach in the new major. Classes begin this fall.
In cooperation with the Commission on Lutheran Schools, MLC will give its new graduates post-graduation support as well, helping them transition into the teaching profession with a two-year New Teacher Induction program.
Each teacher is paired with a trained mentor, who communicates weekly, speeding up the new teacher's pursuit of excellence through self-reflection, student data, comparison to teaching standards and best instructional practices.
More than 30 states require mentoring for their new teachers. CLS piloted this program in the Milwaukee area several years ago. Beginning in 2014, MLC will continue this program nationally under the leadership of Prof. Jonathan Schaefer.
MLC grads go to Russia
Russia has been added to the list of countries where MLC graduates will teach English, under a service program called Daylight International.
Five students will teach at the English House in Tomsk, a cultural center in southern Siberia.
In the next few years, MLC hopes to send more grads to Tomsk, and then Novosibirsk and other Russian cities.