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Wednesday, June 6, 2001

"Challenge to Combat Teacher Shortage Announced"

SALISBURY, MD -- Educators and civic leaders at Salisbury State University today announced a $1 million campaign to bolster scholarships for education majors to combat the teacher shortage that is expected to worsen in the coming decade.  

"The campaign, the Seidel Challenge, is good for Maryland, for the Eastern Shore and the University," said SSU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach. "Salisbury State has not forgotten its roots as a normal school devoted to training local teachers.  And this campaign seems particularly fitting during our 75th anniversary celebration."

"With the current need to attract additional teachers to Maryland's classrooms, the scholarship will advance Sam Seidel's vision of caring, competent teachers for all children," said Dr. Geraldine Rossi, interim dean of the Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies. 

When Seidel (a longtime Salisbury businessman, civic leader and University benefactor) and his wife, Marilyn, endowed the Seidel School in 1997, it was only the second named endowed school of education in the country. He has been a champion of student scholarships throughout the region; he and his wife are honorary chairs of the campaign.  

Dr. William R. Bosley of Lakeland, FL, has contributed a leadership gift of $225,000 in memory of his father, Dr. Howard E. Bosley, first dean of the campus in 1949, and his brother, Dr. John Howard Bosley, a 1957 Salisbury alumnus.  

Although the campaign is not a short-term cure for local teacher shortages, officials hope that long term, scholarships will have an effect.  The need for new teachers and administrators is real.   

"The shortage of teachers has become obvious to everyone," said William T. Middleton, superintendent of schools for Wicomico County. "No longer is it a projected problem for the public schools, it is now a reality.  Furthermore, with the large number of teachers who were originally employed in the late '60s and  '70s being eligible for retirement, the needs will simply continue to grow. ... A program proposed by the Seidel scholarships will be a welcomed addition to Eastern Shore school systems, particularly since teachers who have been educated here have a greater likelihood of remaining in this area."  

According to state figures, 52 percent of Maryland's teachers become eligible for retirement by 2003.  

Salisbury State also wants to bolster the amount of monies available to its 6,400 students for scholarships.  Currently, the amount of financial aid offered as scholarships is 16 percent, one of the lowest in the University System of Maryland--compared to 19 percent for Frostburg and 25 percent for Towson.  

"I believe the field of education is one of the most important in the world because it has the opportunity to touch every other vocation," said SSU alumna and Delaware Teacher of the year Julia Nelson Harper.  "What better place to put resources than in a profession that shapes the future of all?"

For more information on the Seidel Challenge call 410-548-4384 or visit the SSU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.


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