Cannon-Clary College of Education
Senior education major Noah Stubbs began his college career as an applied economics major at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC). He planned to later transfer to the University of Arkansas to complete his degree.
During his time at NWACC, Noah began working as a paraprofessional in a special education room in a school district in Bentonville, Arkansas. He said he quickly fell in love with the work he was doing and switched his major to education that same year.
Though Noah’s original education plan changed, he said he soon found that Harding was the place where he wanted to finish his degree. Dr. Meredith Young, director of Harding University Northwest Arkansas, came to speak to Noah’s intro to education class at NWACC about the degree completion program at Harding. Noah said hearing about the program from Young and others encouraged him to attend.
“Harding has a really great education program in general,” Noah said. “I talked to my principal at work about it, and she said that Harding grads are held in very high regard during interview processes.”
Noah said the excellence of the program was made evident by the unique educational experiences he received. He said one impactful aspect of the degree completion program was that most of the professors in the education program also work in schools during the day, giving them current and relevant experiences to share with their classes. Noah said one of his professors is a certified Reading Initiative for Student Excellence (R.I.S.E.) instructor, a new mandatory training for all Arkansas teachers.
“She walked us through the slideshows that you have to do your first year as a teacher,” Noah said. “I feel more prepared for going through R.I.S.E. training and hitting the ground running on that than I would if I didn’t have an instructor who was R.I.S.E. certified.”
Noah said the unconventional schedule of the degree completion program allowed him to continue working while getting his degree. Until this semester, Noah worked at a school every weekday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the hours college students are typically in class, but because degree completion classes are held at night, he worked full time at the school, part time at a retail store and attended classes in the evenings. Noah said the professors were accommodating and helpful in managing other time commitments and answering any questions.
“I feel like you have almost unlimited access to your professors,” Noah said. “They’re also really willing to help. They'll give you their phone number; you can text them whenever, and they’ll set up private Zoom meetings for you if you have any questions. I feel like you might not get that at a bigger university.”
After graduating from the Degree Completion in Education program, Noah hopes to teach fifth grade at a Title I school in Northwest Arkansas.