By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times
Melissa Tracy has been able to take nearly all of her college classes, including those she needed for her degree in elementary education, at Western Kentucky University’s Glasgow Campus; something that wasn’t possible a few years ago.
Tracy, a senior, once thought about becoming a high school history teacher, but then switched her major to elementary education. After that, she realized she could take all of the classes she would need for her degree at the Glasgow campus.
“It was so convenient,” she said. “I live in Fountain Run and the drive’s not bad. It was close and I could still live at home and save my money.”
The only class she couldn’t take at the local campus was an upper-level elementary education class, which she opted to take in Elizabethtown because she wanted to take it with a specific teacher who she had enjoyed having a class with earlier in her college career.
“Believe me, if I could have done this last course at Glasgow, I would have,” she said.
At one time, students could not take all of the classes they needed for their degrees at the Glasgow campus, but through the years, more classes have been offered, making it easier for students to complete their programs of study locally.
“Elementary Education is one of WKU-Glasgow’s premier programs,” said Dr. Sally Ray, regional chancellor. “Mrs. Ann Patterson and Mrs. Nancy Button, program instructors, do an outstanding job preparing the students in elementary education. In fact, Glasgow’s graduates in elementary education have frequently been awarded Scholar of WKU’s College of Education and are in high demand by school districts in our region.”
There are several associate and baccalaureate programs students can complete at the Glasgow campus, in addition to the developmental and general education courses that are offered, she said.
Programs that can be completed entirely on the Glasgow Campus through a combination offace-to-face, IVS or the Internet are: sports management, elementary education, nursing (associate degree in nursing and a bachelor of science degree in nursing), sociology, psychology, middle grades education (language arts, social studies, math), business informatics (beginning spring 2014), systems management, management with business administration option, social work, interdisciplinary studies and business management (associate degree).
Tracy recently completed six weeks of student teaching with the Allen County Board of Education, working with students at the primary center, as well as the intermediate center.
Tracy did her student teaching at the intermediate center under the direction of Cheryl Miller, who said Tracy was “very dedicated and self-driven.”
“She created a good rapport with them,” Miller said. “Of course she had to learn 140 of them pretty fast.”
On Sunday, Tracy left for Sweden to work with sixth-graders, and is one of two WKU students who will be spending four weeks in Sweden as a student teacher.
She is able to do part of her student teaching in Sweden, thanks to a program offered by WKU that offers education majors the opportunity to do their student teaching abroad in several countries.
“It’s such an experience and it’s something you can really put in your teacher portfolio,” she said. “It just broadens your horizons and they say you see things in such a different light when you get back. I hope that’s how it works.”
She chose Sweden over the other countries offered because she wanted to do her student teaching in a country where the residents spoke English, as well as their native language.
When Miller’s students learned Tracy would be going to Sweden, they bombarded her with questions.
“They think it is just absolutely cool,” Tracy said, even though she doesn’t think they know exactly where Sweden is because they have yet to begin studying geography.
She is hoping to send them postcards.
Because Tracy was able to take nearly all of her classes at the Glasgow campus, she did not have to stay in a dorm. She commuted back and forth from home to school whenever she had classes, but in Sweden she will be staying in a college dorm.
“It will be an experience just to be in a dorm because I’ve never done that,” she said.
Tracy took small gifts to her sixth-grade students in Sweden.
John Roberts, coordinator for student affairs at the Glasgow campus, gave Tracy some items she could take to her Swedish students and the teachers she would be assisting, such as WKU pencils, as well as a WKU-Glasgow coffee mug, a red towel and a T-shirt.
“Essentially, all I gave her were some WKU-Glasgow marketing apparel that I use and other administrators and faculty use for a variety of reasons,” Roberts said.
Tracy will not return home in time to attend the graduand ceremony for Glasgow campus students.
“I’m going to miss that because we are going to be in Sweden still and I hate that because I really wanted to go,” she said.
Tracy is due to return from Sweden on Dec. 10, just in time for graduation at the university’s main campus in Bowling Green.
“We walk the line on Dec. 14, so it’s right there all together,” she said.
Tracy is not sorry she did not get to go to the university’s main campus to take her classes.
“I like the route I took. It was right for me,” she said.
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