Northwestern College education professor earns doctorate

Dr. Laura HeitritterLaura Heitritter, instructor in education and chair of the education department at Northwestern College, has earned a Doctor of Education degree in school administration from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

Heitritter’s dissertation focused on the classroom and behavior management skills of teachers. Statistics show many new teachers leave the field within their first five years because they feel unprepared to manage students and deal with behavior problems.

Heitritter examined existing data from evaluations of teacher candidates by cooperating teachers and student teacher supervisors—looking specifically at ratings of classroom and behavior management skills and the overall probability of success. The results indicated those trained to teach special education scored significantly higher in both areas.

“The implications indicate that teacher education programs might consider revising programs to include more preparation in the field of special education for all candidates,” Heitritter says.

Heitritter is a Northwestern College graduate who earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Sioux Falls. Prior to joining Northwestern’s education faculty in 1992, she served as a language arts consultant for Iowa’s Northwest Area Education Agency and taught reading and math in a Title I classroom. As Northwestern’s education department chair, she teaches courses in reading, early childhood and educational foundations. She also places student teachers in schools and serves as the college’s licensure official.