Southeastern tapped as sole IB certification university for teachers

Monday, April 3, 2017
by: Rene Abadie

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University is now the only university in the Gulf South authorized to offer courses leading to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Educator Certificate in Teaching and Learning.
     The university is one of only 36 IB authorized certification institutions in the United States. The certification – which is granted by the International Baccalaureate Organization – prepares teachers to use advanced academic techniques in the growing number of IB schools. IB programs offer students in elementary through high school a comprehensive, demanding curriculum of advanced studies for highly motivated students.
     “This is an excellent reflection of the quality of programs offered at Southeastern, not just for those students aspiring to become teachers, but to established teachers as well who are looking to improve their skills and knowledge,” said Shirley Jacob, interim dean of the College of Education.
     “IB programs are increasing in number as more schools look to add the highly respected program that offers very high standards for teaching and a rigorous curriculum for students,” said Cherissa Vitter, IB coordinator for the university’s Department of Teaching and Learning and IB coordinator.
     At present there are 10 schools in Louisiana, including two in Tangipahoa Parish, that offer the IB program, with most offering strictly the IB Diploma program. Some also offer IB programs in primary and middle schools and an IB career program, said Vitter, who serves as the director of the Louisiana Association of IB Schools.
     The IB program started in 1968 as a diploma program in the United Kingdom, France and the United States as educators looked to develop an academically-challenging program to fully prepare students for success at the university level and beyond. IB programs are now offered worldwide at schools that meet the rigorous IB standards.
     “The IB is pleased to welcome Southeastern Louisiana University into our network of higher education institutions that offer the IB educator certificates,” said IB Global Professional Development Director Anthony Tait. “This international symbol of excellence shapes educators into reflective practitioners and teacher researchers. It acknowledges teachers’ global mindset and commitment to teaching and learning in an international context. It is a testament to Southeastern that it has made this commitment to its teacher education program.”
     “IB courses are designed to teach students how to learn, how to question and how to research,” Vitter said. “It takes a different approach for teachers than that used in advanced placement or honors courses.”
     She said students enrolled in IB must take six different courses over two years that include language and literature, language acquisition, humanities, science, mathematics, and the arts. In addition, all students study philosophy, conduct research and complete a community service project. Each student is expected to engage in independent research in one of the selected areas and then write an extended essay on the topic.
     “All the subjects are interdisciplinary and are designed to encourage students to think beyond a specific subject; for example, a student may be required to write an essay in response to a math question,” she said. “It requires a different kind of teacher.”
     Teachers enrolling in Southeastern’s 100 percent online program can also take additional courses that lead to a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Current teachers completing the program and a practicum that can take place at the candidate’s current school will earn a Certificate of International Education.
     For more information on the certification program, contact Vitter via email at or call the Department of Teaching and Learning at 985-549- 5248.

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