Innovation in Education: Program 180

The 180 Days in Salt Lake Program (Program 180) provides an innovative approach to teacher preparation in the state of Utah. The program promotes excellence throughout Westminster College’s efforts to prepare high-quality teacher candidates and address the current teacher shortage.

Key Benefits

  • Students are placed in a middle or high school for a full academic year, allowing the school to be closely involved in the students' professional development.
  • The program provides an accelerated path to teaching, requiring only one academic year to complete.
  • Students receive three times the number of contact hours with students/in schools as students in traditional education programs.
  • The five-month clinical teaching phase gives students additional supervised experience, providing them with more support than they would typically receive during their first semester as a new teacher.
  • Increased time in the classroom prepares students for success in their first year of teaching.
  • A generous stipend given upon successful completion of clinical teaching makes teacher preparation costs more affordable.
  • Participation in the program gives school districts early access to highly-qualified teaching candidates.
  • Student involvement during the clinical teaching phase allows schools greater flexibility to reduce class sizes, fill vacancies, or assign faculty to special school projects.


Dr. Heather Batchelor

“We constantly hear that your first year of teaching is the hardest. I feel like I will have completed that first year but without the isolation and fear of the unknown that many experience; I had the support of my professors, my cohort, and mentor teachers. I wasn’t struggling on my own, instead I was able to find my footing with unlimited support and help. It was the quickest, most wonderful 180 days I have experienced."

—Mikaele Shields, Program 180 Student

“Program 180 provided me with in-depth experience in teaching. Twelve weeks of student teaching could never have provided the same challenge, reward, and relationships that I have had the opportunity to experience over the past year. While Program 180 is challenging, I have no doubt that I am more prepared than ever to enter my own classroom next year."

—Morgan Lami, Program 180 Student

“Westminster’s Program 180 is an incredibly valuable opportunity for prospective teachers. From the very first day of the school year, interns are present in the classroom, and students are getting to know them and their teachers simultaneously. As the year progresses and the interns take over the classes, the presence and authority is already established, and the transition goes much more smoothly. The relationships that the interns and students are able to develop are more genuine and lasting, and interns are able to have a much more authentic teaching experience, making them better prepared to enter the education field as teachers.”

—Heather Wihongi, Mentor, Riverview Junior High