Securing top athletes and future teachers

July 26, 2023

The change to Western Education's admission policy was approved by Senate in May.

Starting this September, a new door will open for varsity athletes at Western University looking to enter the Bachelor of Education (BEd) program, while staying purple and proud.

The Faculty of Education has revised its admission policy to introduce a pathway for guaranteed admission to the BEd program for up to 20 Western athletes who qualify. The change was approved by Senate in May.

Qualifications for entry into the program will be assessed individually for each applicant based on their undergraduate degree. As with all BEd applicants, academic standing and completion of relevant course work are taken into consideration. Athletes will also need to complete CASPer (Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics). A full list of the program’s requirements is available online.

The Faculty of Education has similar BEd pathways already available, which provide unique advantages for Western students. This includes agreements with Brescia University College, Huron University College, King’s University College and the Faculty of Science’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.

Education Dean Donna Kotsopoulos is pleased to offer this new pathway for future educators.

Since coming to Western for her graduate education, Kotsopoulos has been a devoted and enthusiastic supporter of the Mustangs football team.

“I have season tickets and try not to miss a home game,” Kotsopoulos said, adding that the potential of Western’s athletes stretches far beyond Western Alumni Stadium.

“I recognize the immense contributions and sacrifices that student athletes make, and this ensures that these exceptional students have a pathway to becoming outstanding teachers.”

Clare Tattersall, Manager, Teacher Education, says athletes are uniquely prepared for all that is needed to thrive in the teacher profession.

“In my experience, I have found that they have developed exceptional time-management, organizational skills, determination and resilience, as well as a commitment to engagement and involvement,” Tattersall added.

“Another important factor is needing teachers who are engaged and willing to get involved and coach teams in their school. There is more to being an amazing teacher than what you do in the classroom.”

The new academic avenue will encourage more athletes to bring their varsity talent to Western, according to Greg Marshall, Head Coach of the Western Mustangs football team. Marshall is also a proud Faculty of Education alum.

“In any given year, we’re going to have, across all the different varsity sports, a variety of student athletes who are interested in teaching,” Marshall said.

“Knowing that we can go out to student athletes that are interested in teaching with this in-hand will certainly help us recruit the best and brightest student athletes across the country.”

An added bonus, Marshall says, is that being able to offer a chance at guaranteed admission will make it easier to retain current athletes.

Student athletes are eligible to play varsity sports for five years. Since they often finish their undergrad in four years, athletes who want to pursue teaching, but aren’t accepted into Western’s competitive BEd program, are forced to play their final year of eligibility elsewhere.

Marshall hopes the new pathway will secure Mustang athletes with teaching aspirations who would’ve otherwise been lost to other universities.

Another recently announced update to the BEd program will be implemented next year.

Starting in September 2024, the program will move to a new model that allows for a robust curriculum in a consecutive 16-month time-frame. This will offer more flexibility to students while getting qualified teachers into classrooms more quickly.