The Department of Teacher Education will add a Masters degree option, beginning Spring 2013. The Faculty Senate affirmed a M. Ed. in Teaching and Learning Monday.
The department will host four interest meetings for undergraduate students next week.
Dr. Dana Pemberton, department chair, said the new graduate level degree has been in the works for several years.
“We needed an opportunity for graduate studies that was meaningful for the student proceeding through the program for initial certification,” Pemberton said. “We’ve been talking about this degree for about five years, but we had a lot of work to do before instituting it. We needed to transform the undergraduate program, increase academic standards, increase field experience and academic rigor.”
Student interest was the main reason for the degree’s creation, Pemberton said.
“About three years ago we had a session at our Alumni in Action conference and we hosted a graduate panel to talk to students about pursuing their Master’s,” she said. “The first time we did it we had about 10 students there. The next time we did it, the room was packed so we knew we really needed to look at it seriously because the department, the culture and, most importantly, the students were ready for it.”
Pemberton said she began presenting the degree plan informally to different administrative teams and councils at the beginning of this semester to get the go-ahead for a formal application. The plan then had to pass several more steps before it could go to faculty vote.
“We took it through Teach Education Council, our College of Education and Human Services Council, the Graduate Education Council and then finally to full faculty vote,” Pemberton said. “A new program has to go to full faculty vote and ours was affirmed with an incredibly high percentage.”
Pemberton said the first part of the Master’s degree will begin in the student’s final semester as an undergrad.
“The students will go through as a cohort during their last semester of senior year,” she said. “They’ll get six hours of graduate credit during that semester and waive the last six they need, kind of like dual credit in high school. Then they’ll go directly into summer work and will eventually finish with their Master’s in five years.
Laura James, sophomore elementary education major from Midland, said she likes the 5-year plan because it is more efficient than others she’s seen.
“It allows me to go straight through and complete my Master’s in a more condensed time than typical programs,” James said. “It also opens up more opportunities for my future in the education field, such as school administration.”
James said she hadn’t planned on grad school immediately after she gets her Bachelor’s degree but that is likely to change with this new degree program.
“I have always had the idea of getting my Master’s in the back of my head but I just figured I would teach for a few years first and then get it online,” she said. “I’m eager to attend the interest meeting to find out more about the benefits of having a Master’s in education.”
The department invites undergrad students wanting to learn more about the program to attend one of four interest meetings next week. All meetings are located in the Education Building:
Monday, Room 112, 4-5 p.m.
Tuesday, Room 110, 12-1 p.m.
Wednesday Room 110, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Thursday, Room 112, 4-5 p.m.