RCC, UNCP forge partnership for the training of future teachers

The Robesonian
The Robesonian
Dr. Robin Cummings, chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, speaks Thursday during a ceremony at which was established a partnership between the university and Robeson Community College to train educators. Also shown are Loury Floyd, dean of the university’s School of Education, left, and Melissa Singler, RCC president. Jessican Horne | The Robesonian

LUMBERTON — With the stroke of a pen Thursday, a partnership was formed to train more educators and address the national shortage of educators.

Robeson Community College President Melissa Singler and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Chancellor Dr. Robin Cummings signed the partnership agreement during a ceremony at RCC.

The agreement will be renewed in three years, according to Loury Floyd, dean of the School of Education at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

“This fall, students who wish to become a teacher will have two pathways for college transfer at RCC. Students can enroll in the associate of arts or the associate of science in Teacher Preparation,” Singler said.

“These two programs will provide a seamless transition to UNCP’s wonderful education program,” she added.

UNCP formerly signed onto the BraveStep program in 2018. The program allows students to transfer from RCC to UNCP after completing 30 credit hours, according to UNCP’s website .

Thursday’s agreement makes RCC the fifth community college UNCP has partnered with to address the educator shortage. UNCP also has partnered with Richmond, Sandhills, Montgomery and Randolph community colleges to offer the same pathway opportunities to future educators, according to UNCP officials.

“But, the pathway that we are launching today is just the latest example of collaboration between our two institutions and yet another opportunity that we have to change lives. You know, our tagline is changing lives through education, and today, we really are changing lives through education,” Cummings said.

UNCP was established to train teachers in 1887, and the university is building from that foundation, he said.

“It’s the very root of UNC Pembroke,” Cummings said.

One of his high school teachers made a lasting impact on the course of his life, the chancellor said. After observing Cummings as he completed an experiment in class, the teacher asked if he ever thought of becoming a doctor. Years later, Cummings would become a surgeon, before his tenure at the university.

“But to me, that was the first time I ever thought about being a doctor, from that 10th-grade teacher. And from that day forward, that’s what I set out to do,” Cummings said.

Singler and Floyd also spoke of the importance of educators.

“Currently there is a teacher shortage in North Carolina and that’s especially true right here in Robeson County. As we are all aware, teachers are the forefront of education. They are vital to our schools and to our community and as we learned during the pandemic, they’re vital to the socialization of our children,” Singler said.

“Teaching is the essential profession, the one that creates all other professions,” Floyd said.

More RCC/UNCP partnerships are likely to come, according to Singler.

“But, I am looking forward to continued partnerships with UNCP,” Singler said. “We have some really great partnerships already. We have a long history of partnering together, but the best is yet to come.”

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