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Bruce Porter is passionate about science. Specifically, he's passionate about teaching science. This passion led him to a successful 24-year teaching career as a college electronics instructor in Alaska. After he retired to Las Vegas, it wasn't long before the call to teach was summoning him once again. He decided to return to school to earn his credentials to teach high school science. The question was…what school would be challenging enough for this teaching veteran? And how quickly could he earn his degree?
"I was eager to get back into the classroom," admits Porter. "After 24 years of teaching, I saw earning my credentials as more of a formality. I wanted to find a program that would allow me to move as quickly as my experience and efforts would take me. The online venue seemed ideal. However, credibility was important to me. I've spent enough years in education to know how important it is to earn your degree from a reputable, well- accredited school."
Porter learned about WGU's online degree and endorsement programs for educators from a teacher working in the Clark County School District, one of the largest districts in the nation, who was earning his master's degree at WGU. He was impressed by the flexibility of the competency-based model. He was also excited that the model would allow him to use his past experience and education to accelerate his program.
"Because I'd spent so many years teaching, I was able to graduate faster and for less money. That's what is so nice about the competency-based model," he said. "That—plus the fact that, in my opinion, the combination of assessment testing and reports makes it almost impossible to get a second rate education at WGU. You really have to delve deeply into the subject matter to pass the assessments. There's nothing 'Mickey-Mouse' about it."
Porter, who says he treated his degree program like a full-time job, earned his degree within a year. He attributes his quick completion to lots of hard work and help from his WGU faculty mentor. The WGU mentoring program is quite unique. Students team up with mentors, experts in their field of study, to create a personalized Degree Plan. Under the mentors' guidance, students follow this plan to successfully complete their degree programs.
"Online learning is great, but it can be isolating," said Porter. "That's why the mentoring relationship is such an important and rewarding part of the WGU program. It gives students that human touch and support that is often missing from other online schools. "
Shortly after graduating from WGU with his B.A. in Science degree, Porter was hired by the Clark County School District to teach 9th grade science.
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