RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam on Monday announced that the state policy boards for elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education have approved 53 new teacher preparation programs and 25 new degrees that will allow graduates to become teachers after earning a four-year degree in education. 

“We must remain focused on meeting the growing needs of our public education system to prepare the Commonwealth’s students for success and secure Virginia’s economic future,” said Governor Northam. “As we work to strengthen Virginia’s educator pipeline, I am pleased to see the approval of these comprehensive changes that will create new pathways to the classroom and help increase both the supply and the diversity of quality teachers in the Commonwealth.”

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) approved new degree programs at seven state public institutions of higher education. The Board also approved new preparation programs at eight private colleges and universities.

Two state advisory panels—the Task Force for Diversifying Virginia’s Educator Pipeline in 2016 and the Advisory Committee on Teacher Shortages in 2017—recommended that the Commonwealth allow new teachers to enter the profession with undergraduate degrees in education.

In 2018, legislation was approved by the General Assembly in response to the recommendations. The bills amended Section 22.1-298 of the Code of Virginia to allow colleges and universities to offer undergraduate degrees in education.

The new degree programs at George Mason University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, William & Mary, Ferrum College, Liberty University, Marymount University, Randolph College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College and the University of Lynchburg were created in response to legislation approved by the 2018 General Assembly.

The legislation broadened the definition of teacher preparation programs in the Commonwealth to include programs culminating in four-year degrees in education, in addition to programs resulting in bachelor’s degrees in the arts and sciences.

The newly approved education endorsement programs offered by public universities in the Commonwealth are as follows:

  • George Mason University—Early/Primary Education, Elementary Education, Special Education-General Curriculum, Special Education-Adapted Curriculum, Special Education-Blindness, and Visual Impairments, and Special Education-Early Childhood
  • James Madison University—Early/Primary Education, Elementary Education, Middle Education, English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics, Special Education-General Curriculum, Special Education-Adapted Curriculum, and Special Education-Early Childhood
  • Old Dominion University—Career and Technical Education-Technology, Career and Technical Education-Marketing, Early/Primary Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education-General Curriculum
  • University of Virginia—Early/Primary Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education-General Curriculum
  • Virginia Commonwealth University—Early/Primary Education, Elementary Education, Engineering, Health and Physical Education, and Special Education-General Curriculum
  • Virginia State University—Elementary Education, Middle Education, and Special Education-General Curriculum
  • William & Mary—Elementary Education (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement)

The newly approved education endorsement programs offered by private colleges and universities in the Commonwealth are as follows:

  • Ferrum College—Elementary Education
  • Liberty University—Elementary Education (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement), Elementary Education (optional Middle Education endorsement), and Special Education-General Curriculum
  • Marymount University—Elementary Education and Special Education-General Curriculum
  • Randolph College—Elementary Education
  • Roanoke College—Elementary Education
  • Shenandoah University—Elementary Education (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement), Middle Education (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement), Biology (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement), Chemistry (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement), English (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement), History and Social Sciences (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement), and Mathematics (optional Special Education-General Curriculum add-on endorsement)
  • Sweet Briar College—Elementary Education
  • University of Lynchburg—Elementary Education and Special Education-General Curriculum