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CoastLine: UNCW And NHC Public Schools Collaborate To Battle Teacher Shortage

David Woo / Flickr

North Carolina has a teacher shortage.  Enrollment in Schools of Education within the University of North Carolina system has dropped 30% since 2010.  And that, according to WRAL, is having a big impact on the number of teachers available to North Carolina schools.  In southeastern North Carolina alone, 175 UNCW students graduated with education degrees in the 2015 – 16 academic year.  That’s down from 233 the previous year and 288 the year before that.  Those numbers come from a StarNews report – which goes on to point out that  it’s unclear how many of those who graduate even stay in the region.

Some point to the loss of Master’s Pay for teachers – as well as the elimination of the Teaching Fellows Program as factors behind the shortage.  We’ll explore that today – as well as how local officials are working on their own initiatives.  In October of this year, New Hanover County Schools and the Watson College of Education joined forces to establish the first Future Teachers Career Academy at Isaac Bear Early College.  The program begins next fall.  

We’ll also investigate what support systems exist for beginning, veteran, and future teachers.  While salary is a factor, are there other reasons fewer highly-qualified professionals are seeking teaching positions?  And how can the system attract and retain these educators?


Van Dempsey, Dean of the Watson College of Education, University of North Carolina Wilmington

John Welmers, New Hanover County Public Schools’ Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.