Satellite program coordinator Susan Faller instructs prospective teachers

Coalition of colleges educates rural teachers in satellite program

Southern Oregon University, Southwestern Oregon Community College and Klamath Community College are teaming up to help aspiring teachers from Klamath Falls, Coos Bay and Brookings earn bachelor’s degrees in education and teaching licenses, all with minimal commuting.

For the past three years, the satellite teaching program has helped students from rural communities – who often work full-time jobs or have studied in other fields but want to start teaching – by making a degree from SOU’s School of Education more accessible. It allows students to take most of their classes online or in the evenings in their community, and lets them do all of their student teaching in their hometowns.

“There is a significant teacher shortage right now and it is incredibly difficult to find teachers for our rural communities,” said SOU faculty member Susan Faller, the program’s coordinator. “These satellite programs are fantastic because we are pulling from the community itself – people who already are invested in their towns and want to be part of the education of future generations.”

The first cohort of satellite students recently graduated, and are currently working as fully-licensed teachers in their home communities. There are currently more than 75 students participating in the program.

Meetings for those interested in the satellite program are at the Brookings SWOCC Campus from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22; the Coos Bay SWOCC Campus from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23; and Klamath Community College from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5. For more information, contact Susan Faller.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer