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Morrisville State College’s Norwich Campus to Offer Early Childhood Program

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.—Morrisville State College’s Norwich Campus recently received approval from the State Education Department to offer an associate in applied science degree program in early childhood. This is the first program approved for the Norwich Campus that is not also available at Morrisville’s main campus.

The announcement comes on the heels of a year of growth for the Norwich Campus, which opened its new academic building, Roger W. Follett Hall, in June 2005 to accommodate the growing need for programs and services.

The college is accepting applications for admission to the early childhood program for the class entering this fall.

“We are pleased to be able to make this very important educational opportunity available to students,” Ted Nichols, dean of the Norwich Campus, said. “The program will prepare much needed and highly qualified early childhood professionals for employment in a variety of capacities throughout Chenango County.”

Students who complete the program will be prepared for careers as early childhood professionals dealing with children from birth to age five. Graduates will be eligible for employment in childcare centers, Head Start centers, private daycare and more.

“The program, designed to comply with the national standards outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), addresses the demand in the Chenango County area and nationally for childcare and child/family development organizations and the need for well-trained childcare professionals,” Nichols said.

“There are areas of our county that would truly benefit from having an early childhood program to support and develop the growth of quality childcare,” Donna Adams, executive director of the Chenango County Child Care Coordinating Council, said.

Adams said area agencies are not always able to meet the increasing demand for quality childcare services.

“The new program would encourage the development of more daycare centers and providers,” she said.

There are currently more than 20 childcare agencies and a number of private daycare centers in the Chenango County area.

A two-year degree is not required to fill all early childcare positions available at these agencies, but being in tune with the latest and best practices and having updated knowledge is important for anyone working in the field, Darlene Alexander, director of The Children’s Center in Norwich, said.

“State and federal regulations also mandate upgrading skills continuously and administering the latest standards,” Nichols said.

“People don’t always recognize the childcare profession as a career and they may not recognize the skills required to care for young children,” Alexander said. “I see a need in the area for more understanding of what quality care is.”

Alexander said it is often difficult to find early childcare professionals who have adequate training and the proper education necessary to ensure high-quality care is given to children.

“When I have to hire a qualified lead teacher, it is a frustrating experience for me,” she said. “It is difficult to find someone with an interest and love of this field who also has the educational qualifications of a two-year degree.”

Morrisville’s new early childhood program may also encourage current childcare workers to upgrade their skills or obtain an associate degree, Nichols said.

Campus and college officials have already started working with local childcare agencies to address their needs, including discussing specific course and field experience requests.

Staff from childcare agencies throughout the area have been taking advantage of elective courses already being offered in child development at the Norwich Campus.

Nichols said some of these courses may transfer into the new degree program. Coursework will include field experiences and observations.

“I am excited about this,” Alexander said. “The new degree would be a definite win/win situation for us and the young children and families in this area.”

While the Norwich Campus serves primarily a commuter population and does not offer housing, college officials are discussing private housing options.

“We are already beginning to see a greater interest in student housing from traditional-age college students,” Nichols said.

The Norwich Campus has played an important role in addressing the higher education and training needs throughout Chenango County by providing affordable, quality educational opportunities for more than 35 years.

“We continuously seek to expand our offerings to more effectively address the needs of the area,” Nichols said.

The Norwich Campus also offers a range of non-credit courses, customized training, and conference services. 

For more information about the early childhood degree program, call 607-334-5144 or visit

Roger W. Follett Hall on the Norwich Campus, located at 20 Conkey Ave., adjacent to the Eaton Center in Norwich, is infused with technology including a wireless network, ThinkPad University integration and “smart classrooms” with ceiling-mounted LCD projectors, VHS, DVD and document camera interface. This allows students and faculty to project from a wide range of media to the retractable ceiling mounted screens. Video conferencing between remote sites is also available, enabling real time audio and video communication between two or more locations for distance learning, professional development and corporate meetings.

Morrisville State College offers 12 bachelor degrees and a wide variety of associate degrees and options, including an associate degree program in teacher education transfer in three areas: childhood, early childhood, and adolescence education. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones.

The Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in business, computer and office technology, liberal arts transfer, and nursing to Chenango County area residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.