Options for connecting with the Curry School’s nationally ranked education programs have expanded in multiple directions this fall – across Grounds, in northern Virginia, and around the globe.
Dual-Degree Option Extended to Engineering Undergrads
Three decades after establishing a groundbreaking five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Teaching program with the College of Arts & Sciences, the Curry School has cemented a similar collaboration with U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science to turn engineering undergrads into science and mathematics teachers.
Our new five-year Bachelor of Science/Master of Teaching program responds to a nationwide demand for teachers with rich backgrounds in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
This new dual-degree program is a great way to increase the effective teaching of an engineering curriculum.
Similar to the BA/MT program with the College, Engineering School students interested in the program will apply to the Curry School during their second year of study. They will complete coursework at both schools during their third, fourth and fifth years, graduating with both a bachelor’s degree in engineering science and Master of Teaching degree. Graduates will be eligible for a teaching license with an endorsement in physics, chemistry or mathematics.
The Next Generation Science Standards encourage the integration of engineering design into the structure of science education, so schools are in need of teachers specifically trained to teach engineering concepts, said Jennifer Chiu, an assistant professor who specializes in STEM education.
“Engineering is foreign to many pre-college teachers, and little research exists on effective ways to integrate engineering into K-12 settings,” she said. “This new dual-degree program is a great way to increase the effective teaching of an engineering curriculum.”
Currently, state licensure in engineering education is rare, but that will change, said Linda Boone, manager of the teacher education program.
“It will likely not be long before states, Virginia included, begin offering teacher licenses in engineering education, just as they do special education or mathematics education.”
When that happens, U.Va. graduates will be ahead of the game.
Special Ed MT Program Extended to NoVa Center
The No. 1 need in Virginia’s public schools is for more special education teachers, says the Virginia Department of Education. To help alleviate this need the Curry School is offering the Master of Teaching degree in special education off Grounds for the first time ever.
This fall the Master of Teaching program in special education is offered at U.Va.’s Northern Virginia center. The school has offered various special education programs from the Northern Virginia center for years, but never our signature Master of Teaching.
“By opening a second Master of Teaching program in Northern Virginia in addition to our program in Charlottesville, we have the capacity to double the number of special education teachers trained at the University of Virginia,” said Bill Therrien, professor and special education program coordinator.
The new degree program will bring the same high level of excellence found in the on-Grounds program to a new location and to a new kind of student.
“The new program will differ from our on-Grounds program in that it is offered part-time and is geared toward working professionals who are looking to enter the teaching profession,” Therrien said.
It may also be ideal for education paraprofessionals and teachers working in special education positions with provisional licenses.
“For the professionals already in schools and classrooms, this part-time program allows them to fill the role where they are needed while concurrently receiving the specific training to become a licensed special educator,” Therrien said.
Selected Masters Degrees Offered Online
This fall some of the Curry School’s degree programs have become accessible to students who need never step foot in Virginia at all. We have begun offering three degrees completely online: Two master of education degrees (in reading education and curriculum and instruction) and an education specialist degree in reading education.
Online access creates an increasingly diverse learning community that benefits everyone, according to Stephanie Moore, assistant professor and online learning coordinator.
“The Curry School’s expansion of online offerings reflects this core value of embracing diverse learner populations and needs,” Moore said. “It allows us to serve eligible students who may not be able to move for a degree, but who bring valuable experience and perspective into the learning environment.”
Among the nation’s leaders in researching effective teaching and curriculum development, our faculty and administrators have taken explicit measures to ensure an online learning experience comparable to the quality available in on-Grounds courses.
We focus on research-based design features in our online classes.
“We focus on research-based design features in our online classes, such as rigorous instructional design, high degrees of interaction and feedback, and authentic activities that require students to apply content and develop skills,” Moore said.
Launching the online degree programs is a culmination of years of work in online education. The Curry School already offers a variety of certificates and course series that lead to endorsement, all online. Faculty members in the reading education program have been creating and teaching online courses at the Curry School for a decade.
“We measure success using the state Praxis test for reading specialists,” said Mary Abouzeid, program coordinator for reading education. “Our online students pass with very high scores.”
A unique feature of the Curry School online courses, Moore said, is an online community that allows students to interact with expert instructors and peers around the country or the world.
“While there are numerous resources for learners to access content, our emphasis and the growing emphasis of top online programs is to create opportunities for learners to access a quality educational experience,” she said.
The Ed.S. degree in reading education is designed to help educators with a master’s degree acquire the skills to develop curricula, and assess, evaluate and instruct students in reading. The M.Ed. in reading education is best suited for reading practitioners to strengthen their knowledge, instructional skills and abilities for effective teaching of reading, development of reading programs and literacy coaching at the elementary and secondary school levels.
The Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction is designed for individuals who want to make a difference in educational settings by developing more effective instructional practices and better curriculum development strategies. Students will select from one of four areas of focus: English language learners, gifted education, instructional technology or reading education.
Webinars are being presented by Curry faculty members throughout the fall semester to provide interactive opportunities to learn more about these and other Curry programs.