Published on July 11, 2018 by Sara Roman  

Within just seven weeks of graduation, 100% of Orlean Beeson School of Education’s Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative (ESEC) May 2018 graduates accepted teaching positions or were accepted into Master of Science in Education programs.

Very frequently, ESEC program graduates are employed or pursing graduate studies within three months of graduation, but candidates in the May 2018 graduating class were offered teaching positions at an extremely impressive rate. “Prior to graduation, more than 60% of our graduating class had already established where they would be teaching in the fall,” said Karen Birkenfeld, Teacher Education department chair. Less than four weeks after graduation the cohort had already reached an 80% hire rate. 

Candidates in the ESEC program have the opportunity to earn state teaching certifications in four areas, two in general education and two in special education. These four certifications make ESEC graduates desirable to K-12 schools because they graduate with the certifications, experience and versatility to excel in a variety of settings. The class of 2018 has accepted positions across the country including Boston, Massachusetts. “Each year principals across the country seek our graduates out,” said Birkenfeld. “This is a point of pride for our students and our faculty here at Samford.”

The ESEC program is the only program in the state of Alabama to offer four state teaching certifications within one program. It is one of the programs in the state to be nationally recognized by each of the Specialized Professional Associations represented within the degree.

The four certifications make students highly marketable to schools, but faculty and staff believe the high level of professionalism in which candidates present themselves also contributes to the remarkable hire rate. Candidates have the opportunity to enroll in education courses and field experiences as early as freshman year. By the time they graduate, they will accumulate over 1,000 hours of field experience and more than 600 hours of internship experience. “We believe this immersion model prepares our students to be highly effective teacher leaders and colleagues when they enter the field,” said Birkenfeld.

“I feel ready,” said 2018 graduate Sarah Mince. “I know that I am prepared, and I am confident that I can face whatever comes my way as I step into my first classroom. Without Samford, I don’t know that I would feel this way.” Mince is eager to begin her career teaching fourth grade at Cahaba Elementary School this fall.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.