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UMD college under review after 'employee errors' left grads in limbo

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A college within the University of Minnesota Duluth has been placed on probationary status through next April, and now some students and recent graduates are worried about their chances of getting a job.

The Minnesota Board of Teaching placed UMD's College of Education and Human Service Professions on probationary status last week while it undergoes a review, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

This comes after the university failed to submit the proper paperwork for its special education programs by the teaching board's deadline following a change in teacher licensure requirements in 2012, Northland's NewsCenter reported.

As a result, some of UMD's education programs have lost accreditation with the state.

How it happened

University officials maintain the "glitch" has nothing to do with the validity of its education programs, but is the result of "employee errors," reports note.

But the loss of state accreditation has posed a problem for recent graduates.

To get a first-time full professional Minnesota education license (the standard license for new teachers), one must receive a degree from a state-approved teacher preparation program, the state Department of Education notes.

That was the issue earlier this year when roughly two dozen graduates from UMD's Integrated Elementary and Special Education (IESE) were deemed ineligible for a teaching license, FOX 9 reported.

About half of them had already accepted jobs, and were forced to leave their employers "hanging," unsure when they'd be able to start working, FOX 9 noted.

Regaining accreditation

The teaching board has since granted temporary licenses to only those graduates with existing job offers, The Statesman said, as the university continues to work on submitting the appropriate paperwork to regain accreditation.

But that leaves students without jobs and those graduating this spring wondering when they'll be able to get a license, or a job – many districts will avoid hiring teachers until they know when they'll receive their license, students told The Statesman.

University officials announced the college's probationary status to students via email Monday night, the Duluth News Tribune reports, adding UMD plans to ask for a variance to allow May graduates to get a temporary teaching license as well.

The email also said classes are expected to continue as normal, and students new to the program aren't expected to be affected by this probationary period, the newspaper says.

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