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Elementary education students listen in assistant professor Christine Tschida’s class. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

TEACHER TRAINING

Online master’s program targets education graduates

Jan. 20, 2017

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University’s College of Education aims to help new graduates get their master’s degrees in elementary education in just one year.
    
The Department of Elementary Education and Middle Grades Education is seeking a minimum of 20 students to start the online program this summer. Applications will be accepted until April 1.

“You want to be the best teacher you can be, and getting a master’s degree is a very important step to helping you be the best you can be,” said Dr. Carol Greene, the department’s graduate coordinator. 

ECU education students who will be graduating in May are encouraged to continue another year to earn an advanced degree.

“It really makes sense to do this when you’re 22, before the challenges of career, life, mortgages,” Greene said. “Right now, a master’s degree isn’t required to teach in North Carolina but it’s required in many other states. We think it’s more a matter of when, not if, for our state.”

The college also is developing a program that will allow practicing teachers to earn a master’s degree in just over a year. “It’s still fast-paced and slightly over a calendar year, but the timeline for it will be tailored to practicing teachers,” Greene said.

The programs will focus on teachers as leaders and offer courses on strategic leadership skills and roles.

“It gives them significant opportunities in the future and makes them very marketable,” Greene said. “This degree will not only enhance classroom practice and pedagogical skills, but it will also serve as a stepping stone to positions of leadership in schools or districts.”

Nationally and in North Carolina, enrollment in schools of education have been declining. Several years ago, the N.C. state legislature eliminated pay raises for teachers with master’s degrees, causing many teachers to opt out of seeking them.

“This is unfortunate because we know that teachers with advanced educations are not only good for our students, but an advanced education is good for our teachers as well,” Greene said.

ECU hopes to boost enrollment and ready a new group of master’s prepared teachers to be able to take advantage of financial incentives should they return, and more importantly, give teachers additional skills to teach the next generation of learners, Greene said.

“As teachers, we must keep current in order to have the most impact on our students,” she said.

Interest in the program has been strong, Greene said.

Recently, the College of Education’s online graduate education programs tied for 16th out of 262 schools and was the highest ranked in the North Carolina system by U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Online Programs. Also, ECU’s elementary education program was recently ranked 10th in the nation by teachers.org.

For more information on the one-year master’s in elementary education program, contact Greene at 252-328-5316 or greeneh@ecu.edu.

 

Education students talk during an introduction to the high school English curriculum in the College of Education, which is starting a one-year master’s degree program in elementary education.

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