The University of North Georgia (UNG) has added a concentration in curriculum and instruction to its Master's of Education program that offers current teachers location flexibility, making it ideal for working professionals.
The curriculum and instruction concentration is designed for a k-12 certified teacher with an undergraduate degree in education. The degree represents a unique opportunity for educators to bridge educational theory and classroom practices, said Charles Burrage, assistant dean and coordinator for graduate programs in UNG's College of Education.
"There is a close connection between what we teach and what actually happens in the classrooms and schools. In other programs of this type, there is little connection between the faculty in that program and the reality of current classrooms," Burrage said. "We have partnerships with schools in many counties across the region, so we are practitioner-friendly and can offer extensive field experiences. Students in these courses will experience high quality instruction and involvement in educational research."
Location flexibility is one of the main features of the program, as classes can be offered on UNG campuses in Cumming, Dahlonega or Gainesville, online, or in a hybrid program that is a combination of the two. Courses will be offered in the late afternoon, evening and during summer.
Also, with enough interest, UNG could potentially bring the program to teachers, Burrage said. The program could be offered on-site, much like UNG's professional development model for undergraduate education degrees in which students and their professors have college courses in area public schools in a full-immersion model.
The flexibility of time, location and modes of delivery will allow teachers to more easily balance their education with their personal and professional commitments, said Dr. Sanghee Choi, coordinator for the program and an associate professor in the College of Education.
While the M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction is designed to be flexible, it is no less rigorous and was developed specifically to conform to the expectations of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).
"This means that graduates can expect that the state will recognize their graduate degree and will compensate them for having achieved that step in the process at a time when degrees in common, out-of-field areas like leadership will not meet the GaPSC criteria for a T-5 certificate," Burrage said.
The courses also are tied to current standards and provide research-based strategies and best practices for developing effective instruction and supportive learning environments, explained Choi.
"In-service teachers will be able to immediately start using the techniques they are learning in these courses," she said. "Students will use case studies and research experiences and learn from seeing each other's teaching practices."
Additionally, students can add an endorsement to their teaching license by choosing a focus area of study, including English to speakers of other languages, gifted education, international teaching, reading, or special education.
The 36-hour, cohort-based M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction begins classes in June; application deadline for the program is May 1. UNG's Office of Graduate Studies is holding open house events to feature all of its programs from 6-7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 9 on the Gainesville Campus and from 6-7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 30 on the Cumming Campus.
UNG's teacher education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and are approved by the GaPSC. For more information about UNG's College of Education and admission requirements, visit the website at http://ung.edu/college-of-education/index.php.