Hamline News

Hamline University Now Offers Minnesota’s Only Adult Basic Education Licensure Program

Image of a person standing in front of a classroom with adults writing at desks

A new Hamline program will prepare teachers to empower adult learners.

With Hamline University’s new Adult Basic Education (ABE) licensure, teachers can earn a license specifically oriented to the needs of adult learners. The program, the only ABE-specific license offered in Minnesota, is available as part of the Hamline School of Education’s initial teacher licensure program, or as an additional license for teachers looking to specialize.

Coursework focuses on creating a learning environment that is equitable and optimized for adults. Topics include course design, assessment, and English as a second language, along with a hands-on field experience. Initial licensure courses are offered on campus; ABE courses (initial or additional license) are online.

Districts are increasingly seeking teachers with the specialized ABE licenses to better serve adult learners. An ABE license also prepares educators to teach with community programs or the corrections system, the latter of which is the state’s largest provider of adult education.

The School of Education will continue to offer its ABE certificate, which covers similar coursework but is open to all educators, not just those seeking a Minnesota initial or additional teaching license.

A leader in adult education

Hamline has long been a leader in the adult education field. Since 2007, Hamline has housed ATLAS (ABE Teaching and Learning Advancement System), a professional development and resource center for ABE educators. In 2017, ATLAS was selected as one of four Literacy Leadership awardees by the National Coalition for Literacy.

“When you come into this space and do this credential, you’re immediately networking with people who do similar work. There’s a strong community in Minnesota,” says Patsy Egan, ATLAS director.

Students in the ABE system have different goals than K-12 students and respond to different teaching methods; there’s a greater sense of urgency for these learners, said Egan, and many seek out ABE as a pathway to a specific job or degree. Many are Black, Indigenous and people of color, are currently or formerly incarcerated, or aren’t native speakers of English, so Hamline’s ABE coursework is rooted in equity, inclusion, and diversity.

“It’s imperative that we’re providing teachers with the knowledge and skills to promote equitable and inclusive learning environments,” said Betsy Parrish, professor in the School of Education. “Demand is there and will always be there for somebody who is really committed to bettering the lives of those who may not have been well served in other systems, for those new to the country. There are many people really committed to serving in that context. This is their pathway to becoming qualified to do that.”

Written by Anne Kopas

August 21, 2020