SUNY Potsdam Partners with Jefferson Community College to Offer Baccalaureate Education Program in Watertown

Students Can Now Earn Their Bachelor's Degree in Childhood/Early Childhood Education in Watertown, Thanks to Expanded Joint Degree Program

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Molly Lawliss ’18, a childhood/early childhood education major at SUNY Potsdam, works with a kindergartener at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School.

POTSDAM, NY (04/03/2018) (readMedia)-- SUNY Potsdam and Jefferson Community College have expanded the institutions' joint degree program in childhood/early childhood education -- now allowing students the opportunity to complete their associate, bachelor's and master's degrees on the JCC campus in Watertown, N.Y.

Students in the program are jointly enrolled at both colleges. After earning an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in childhood education at Jefferson, they can proceed without interruption to complete their Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in early childhood/childhood education through SUNY Potsdam -- completing all of their regular coursework in Watertown.

"SUNY Potsdam is proud to partner with Jefferson Community College on another initiative to benefit our region. Our expanded joint degree program will draw on Potsdam's historic strength in teacher education and Jefferson's commitment to providing in-demand programs to serve its community," said SUNY Potsdam President Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg.

"Jefferson students will greatly benefit from this new partnership," said Jefferson Community College President Dr. Ty A. Stone. "This is another prime example of Jefferson's commitment to meeting the needs of our entire community. JCC students can complete their degrees close to home and North Country schools will have talented local teachers prepared to educate our youth."

This is the institutions' second jointly registered program. Jefferson and Potsdam also partner to offer an Associate of Science (AS)/Bachelor of Science (BS) program in business administration on the Watertown campus as well.

Students in the new childhood/early childhood education joint degree program are required to choose a specialization area, with English and history being the most popular areas of concentration. Successful graduates will be recommended for New York State certification in both early childhood education (for teaching children from birth through Grade 2) and childhood education (Grades 1 to 6).

Undergraduates in the program would complete one upper-level student teaching seminar on the Potsdam campus prior to the start of their student teaching semester. Student teaching placements are available at districts throughout the North Country, including at many schools in Jefferson and Lewis counties. SUNY Potsdam will have an on-site advisor and coordinator for the joint degree program, in addition to the College's existing Watertown-based faculty and staff.

To learn more about the joint program in childhood education, visit

The expanded education programming comes at a critical time for the profession. New York State is facing a teacher shortage, as a third of active public school educators are set to reach retirement age within the next five years, and not enough young people have been entering the field following the recession to fill the need.

According to the New York State Department of Labor, the North Country is expected to see a large growth in the number of open teaching positions by 2021 compared to the overall state average, especially for elementary and Kindergarten teachers.

Once they complete their undergraduate studies, students may also choose to pursue one of SUNY Potsdam's graduate programs offered in Watertown at the Jefferson Higher Education Center (JHEC). Students can choose from master's degree programs in curriculum and instruction, literacy specialist or literacy educator. Students may then pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study in inclusive and special education.

These flexible graduate programs are all offered on the JCC campus and are scheduled on weeknights or weekends to meet the needs of working professionals. Both full- and part-time courses of study are available, and graduates of the joint AA/BA program could be eligible for automatic admittance.

SUNY Potsdam will offer an information session regarding all of its program offerings available at Jefferson Community College on Tuesday, April 10, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the JCC Extended Learning Center. For more information or to RSVP for the free event, please contact Laura Carbone at (315) 786-2373 or

To learn more about SUNY Potsdam's programs and partnerships with JCC, visit

About Jefferson Community College:

Established on November 7, 1961, Jefferson Community College was the area's first institution of higher education. Supervised by the State University of New York (SUNY), Jefferson offers 40+ associate degrees and certificates for career preparation or transfer; local access to bachelor's and advanced degrees through partner institutions; lifelong learning through workshops and seminars; business and industry training; community-based research and provides a forum for the productive discussion of ideas and issues of significance to the community through the Center for Community Studies; and cultural enrichment opportunities for the entire Watertown/Fort Drum region. Jefferson is accredited by the Middle States Association and currently serves approximately 3,800 students, including a significant number of service members and their families. Please visit for more information.

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges -- and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit