MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – This summer, the University of Mount Olive is offering FREE online professional development workshops for middle and high school teachers from North Carolina and beyond. According to Dr. Stephen Edwards, Agricultural Education and Agribusiness Department Chair, North Carolina teachers are required to earn a total of 80 hours of Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits over a five-year period to maintain their teaching license. The courses being offered by UMO will fill that need not only for agriculture teachers, but also for science teachers.
Organized by the UMO School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, there are a total of 24 different workshops with over 50 CEU potential credits. Topics will cover a wide variety of interests including Floral Design 101, Escaping Boring Assessments, Middle School Parliamentary Procedure, Introduction to Grant Writing, Skeletal Modeling and Bone Collection, and many more.
Edwards indicated that this will be the tenth year that UMO has provided summer professional development opportunities, but only the second in a virtual format. “In the summer of 2020, we were faced with two options because of COVID,” Edwards said. “We could have canceled or gone online. We chose online.” Edwards noted that UMO offered five virtual workshops in 2020. The largest attended workshop had 80 teachers from across 14 states.
“After receiving notes of thanks from teachers in Kentucky and Indiana, among others, we realized that we were able to reach teachers and programs not previously tapped,” Edwards said. “Because of the success of last summer’s virtual workshops, we made it a priority to continue the effort.”
Edwards indicated that the workshop series is not only a great way for UMO faculty to interact with secondary teachers from across the US, but it is also an excellent opportunity for schools with limited budgets, to fill in the gaps with training. “While many colleges and universities offer professional development opportunities to secondary teachers,” Edwards said. “We are the only ones that I know of that is doing it for free.”
Interested educators can sign up at https://forms.gle/9n4niz7qKr6A6HUz9. A list of all workshop topics, dates, and times are located on the link. For more information, contact Dr. Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Rhonda Jessup, University of Mount Olive