Exploring Student Experiences in Valparaiso University's Transition to Teaching Program

Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Benjamin Boche





Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


Alternative teacher licensure programs provide nontraditional routes for aspiring teachers seeking to gain initial certification. Common objectives for these programs are to combat teaching shortages, support the needs of nontraditional education students, and recruit diverse pools of teaching candidates. Individuals seeking to pursue an alternative pathway into the teaching profession may encounter distinctive challenges as they navigate through the licensure process and education landscape. This survey study examines the experiences of students in Valparaiso University’s Transition to Teaching Graduate Certificate program located in Valparaiso, Indiana. Students were asked questions relating to three categories: motivation, barriers, and support. Survey responses were collected and coded to determine drivers of student success and possible program improvement. Key findings of the survey results indicated the positive impact of professional mentorship and interpersonal relationships on teaching experiences, how students in the program were simultaneously fueled by a passion for teaching and desire to increase their employment security, and the importance of clear structures and processes to help students navigate state and institutional requirements.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Karina Hernandez Cazarez is currently a student in Valparaiso University's Transition to Teaching program. She currently works as a Family Outreach Specialist and Spanish Language Interpreter for a high school district and has background working in the higher education field as well. She looks forward to student teaching this Fall to obtain her Spanish Secondary Teaching License.

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