Education students push back following Tevera announcement

Third-year+education+major+Amanda+Bissen.+Bissen+founded+a+petition+on+Change.org+to+gather+students+against+Tevera.+The+petition+has+over+1%2C700+signatures+as+of+Oct.+11.

Carolyn Hauschild

Third-year education major Amanda Bissen. Bissen founded a petition on Change.org to gather students against Tevera. The petition has over 1,700 signatures as of Oct. 11.

Sophia Sailer, News Editor

On Sept. 28 education majors received an email stating they need to sign up and pay for a program titled “Tevera” which costs close to $270 to buy through the bookstore and $220 to buy online.

Following this announcement, many education students were upset and decided to chalk campus with messages against the use of Tevera, in support of education students and to raise awareness about a recently created change.org petition.

Titled, “WSU Education Students Against Costly Tevera Program”, this petition was created by third-year education student, Amanda Bissen. The petition explains the Tevera situation and people can show support through signing the petition, it currently has 1,700 signatures. The change.org petition can be found through this link: https://www.change.org/p/wsu-education-students-against-costly-tevera-program?redirect=false.

Bissen stated that when she got the email about Tevera, she immediately felt off about how this change was communicated.

“I have talked to a lot of people, and they have said that because of this program they will not be able to pay rent this month or be able to buy groceries because they didn’t budget for a program this expensive,” Bissen said.

Bissen also commented that financial aid loans are not being accounted for in this process.

Bissen expressed her thoughts on why this program was forced onto students to pay for in the middle of the semester.

“I talked to Stephanie Bohlman about this and she said that before Tevera, they had been using Excel Spreadsheets to track our field experience which got messy, so it became a temporary service,” Bissen said.

Students took to chalking up the pavements of campus in protest of the surprise prices. (Carolyn Hauschild)

Bissen continued stating that once they realized Excel Spreadsheets was not going to work, they tried using an in-house program before deciding on Tevera.

“Tevera is designed to support field work as part of curricular activities for programs like social work. Teachers use Tevera to manage field placements, track hours and progress, deliver documents to the students, automate workflows, and track learning objectives,” the Winona State University Wiki page states.

Stephanie Bohlman, the Director of the Center for Student Success, was asked to interview for this article because of her involvement with student teaching placements but was unable to find time in her schedule.

Also, many education students’ field experience hours during COVID-19 were not properly accounted for and must be made up. More information on this topic can be found in Heidi Hanson’s article “Education students to remake “alternative hours”.

“When COVID was a thing, a lot of the time, the field experience or field placements either did not happen or happened online. Because of this, some professors did not count the hours,” Bissen said.

Bissen also mentioned that she has heard people from other colleges call out Winona State for having education majors pay for Tevera, saying that they have never had to pay for anything that expensive.

Grace Magnuson, a fourth-year elementary education major with a minor in differentiated instruction talked about how she was affected by Tevera.

“I am completely against Tevera for future education students. They have made it work for decades before now, so why use it now? Why fix something that is not broken?” Magnuson said.

Nicole Seberson, an alumnus of Winona State who graduated in Spring 2022 from the education program, talked about her experience in the program.

“When I first got in, it was Spring 2019. They were still doing field experience because this was pre-pandemic. When I was doing field experience, they never really told us who was keeping track of hours or what we were doing with the hours, so I never wrote them down. We were told that the professors were going to take care of that,” Seberson said.

Seberson continued, stating that she was student teaching in January of this year when the education department said that she did not have any hours because she did not keep track of them during the pandemic.

Aside from the fee that you must pay for Tevera, there are other fees education students must pay out of pocket.

Magnuson described these fees in detail, explaining how unfair it is to add another one.

“We [education majors] already have so many extra fees that we need to pay for. TLEs, ACT stuff if we did not pass that. We must pay insurance for being in field experience, which is not covered by financial aid, as well as a union thing which is also out of our pocket,” Magnuson stated.

Mallory Bowman, a third-year communication arts and literature teaching student at Winona State spoke about her thoughts regarding Tevera.

“We’re all paying for something. Whether it is tuition, housing, rent, or buying groceries. This is just another added expense sprung up on education majors with very little warning. They just expect us to follow along without any reason,” Bowman said.

Bowman commented that she has heard of students changing majors because of the cost related to pushing Tevera.

The petition on Change.org quickly received traction among education students. Bissen gives a summary of the issue and explains the surprise prices thrown at students. (Screengrab from Change.org as of Oct. 11)

Magnuson expressed that she believes that the education department is taking the “lazy way” into counting the hours of education majors. Magnuson wonders why professors cannot just log students’ hours manually instead of using an expensive program.

James Schul, an education studies professor at Winona State commented on his thoughts regarding Tevera.

“Students approached me the day the email came out expressing a concern about this added charge and what I knew about it. I told them I knew nothing about it. The students were upset, and I understand their concern. I advised the students that we have channels built in our institution to solve problems when they arise. With that said, I advised students to connect members of their student senate, with Stephanie Bohlman,” Schul said.

Schul himself did not want to express his feelings on the topic because of his lack of knowledge.

“That’s literally all that I know about the topic. I hesitate to interject any of my opinions on the matter because I do not have enough information,” Schul said.

Students are continuing to push back against Tevera, making their voices heard. Bissen has already shown President Scott Olson the change.org petition.

“I talked to President Olson at the game day experience and brought the petition up to him and have sent him an email following up the conversation. I have not heard from him, but I hear that Student Senate is going to touch on it,” Bissen said.

On Oct. 4, six days after the Tevera announcement, Student Senate passed a motion recommending President Olson and the college of education board to host a Q&A forum about the Tevera situation for students. Student Senate also hosts meetings every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. in the Purple Rooms open to the student body. These meetings are also livestreamed.

“I hope that Scott Olson listens to the petition. I really hope so, because this school was an education school when it was first founded, and education is part of what Winona State is known for. When you have pissed off the entire education department, there’s not going to be a lot of good reviews about the department,” Bowman said.