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School of education promotes masters degree program for all disciplines

Instituted about 50 years ago, Loyola’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program has been running especially strong in recent years. Elizabeth Trimmer, assistant director of the Teacher Education Program said, “In the last two years, the number of MAT students has ranged from 106 to 128, with the current number of students at 113.”

Joshua Smith, Ph.D. dean of Loyola’s School of education said that the program was instituted because “[we] value and recognize that there are many different pathways to education.” He and Trimmer expressed their belief that the MAT program at Loyola is stronger than both alternative certification processes and similar programs of peer institutions across the nation.

Loyola offers an elementary education major and a secondary education minor for undergraduate students. However these are not the only pathways to becoming an educator, as people may realize their passion for teaching at different stages in life. The MAT is an alternative to completing a traditional undergraduate education program. The program is completely unrelated to Teach for America or other alternative certification programs, and students are, according to Smith “better prepared” since they are not instructed over a single summer.

MAT consists of two programs. The Combined BA/BS-MAT Program applies to sophomores, who may be just beginning to think about the program, and juniors looking into earning secondary teacher certification. By February 1 of their junior year, students may apply for the program and, assuming they are accepted, model their schedule senior year so that they use three elective courses to complete three of the required education courses at the Masters level. Those three courses will be covered with the cost of undergraduate education and will count toward both the undergraduate degree and the Masters’ degree. Taking those courses during their senior year, students will have the ability to earn their Master in Arts of Teaching within one year of graduation.

Second, the MAT Program is an option for any college graduate who is interested in becoming a teacher. The program provides avenues for both elementary (grades 1-6) and secondary education. The MAT program can be completed within two years, during which the courses are offered in the evenings and afternoons.

For both programs, certification for art, French, music or Spanish applies to grades Pre-K to 12. Certification in biology, chemistry, earth and space science, English, math, physics or social studies applies to grades 7 to 12. The 34-35 credit programs both include two field experiences and two semesters of internship.

In both the combined BA/BS-MAT and the MAT Programs, there is a group that works closely with the student to advise and mentor. Loyola is the “only program in town” with full time professional development school (PDS) faculty, also called clinical faculty. The PDS faculty works closely with 15-18 students/interns in student teaching. Smith called this strong internship support the “one trick pony.”

The Loyola MAT program has a long-standing history of placing graduates in local schools, especially schools at which students have previously interned. According to Trimmer it is a type of cycle. “Interns become good teachers who stay and become mentors,” she said.

Mentors are teachers who have been tenured at the school at which they teach, and serve to help interns in the process of becoming teachers themselves. Members of Loyola’s MAT Program staff consider tenured teachers for whether they are appropriate to work as a mentor.

Included in the program is a process of deep reflection with students. “We listen to our students and our partners in our school sites and make some changes based on feedback build very strong partnerships and relationships with them,” said Smith.

On Sunday, November 24, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in Sellinger Rooms 104 and 107, information sessions will be held for both MAT programs. Email Elizabeth Trimmer at [email protected] with any questions and/or if you would like to attend this session.

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School of education promotes masters degree program for all disciplines