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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Teacher shortages cause retention and recruitment push at New Mexico State

A growing shortage of teachers in New Mexico is causing a retention and recruitment push at New Mexico State University's College of Education, said Candace Sitzer, coordinator for recruitment and retention.


on efforts have included reaching out to students who are at risk of dropping out of college either for financial or academic reasons. Sitzer said the college wants its students to be aware of the resources that are available to them, especially those in need of academic or financial assistance.

Recruitment strategies have included direct contact with students who have shown an interest in teaching and students of high academic standing and, with the assistance of grant funds, advertising. Sitzer also has been able to conduct more high school visitations.

The education college had a 1.2 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment in fall 2001, Sitzer said.

An October/November 2000 survey of New Mexico school districts showed that the state's teacher shortages are caused by fairly high turnover rates among new teachers and are complicated by the fact that nearly 10 percent of the existing teaching force has substandard licenses.

The survey, the first ever on teacher supply and demand in New Mexico, was conducted by the Teacher Accountability Council, a statewide advisory body sponsored jointly by the State Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.

A summary of the survey results released in a June issue of "The Quality Teacher," a newsletter of the Commission on Higher Education, said that 71 of New Mexico's 89 school districts responded to the questionnaire. The responding districts reported 234 vacancies as compared with 140 vacancies in the 1999-2000 school year, an increase of 68 percent across the state.

Some of the most difficult subjects to keep filled include mathematics, bilingual education, music and science.

Sitzer was hired with funds from a grant that required recruitment of science and math teachers. Her efforts have branched out to include general recruitment for the college.

"The retention and recruitment goal is simple. We want to bring more quality people into teaching," Sitzer said.