By KYLE LEFLER
The University of Mary Washington’s College of Education has announced a set of new programs being developed for the institution for as soon as fall 2012.
Dean of the College of Education Mary Gendernalik-Cooper expressed excitement about three new pathways and one new degree opportunity for students. A pathway is a predetermined course of study that leads students through specific classes, with the ultimate goal of completing both graduate and undergraduate work in education.
Faculty committees from the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the College of Education, are working in conjunction to expand interdisciplinary studies and resources for students interested in the educational field, including but not limited to teaching in a traditional setting.
UMW already offers a well-established education program, including the option to procure a Masters of Elementary Education during a fifth year. Two of the new pathways will allow students studying Secondary Education or PreK-12 focus areas, like music, theatre and art, to obtain a Masters of Education during a fifth year at the Stafford Campus.
Gendernalik-Cooper explained that there are a number of program pathways being developed for students on the Fredericksburg campus. While the Master of Education program already exists, the fifth year completion is not currently offered to students enrolled in Secondary or PreK-12 programs, whereas it is for students completing requirements for Elementary Education.
The third pathway will culminate in the opportunity to receive a Masters of Education with a focus in special-education.
The pathway format of class requirements and practicum assignments will allow undergraduates to further investigate a possible interest in Special Education and put them on track for post-baccalaureate work with Mary Washington.
“I think a program like that would be awesome,” said junior Mary Beth Moody, currently a history and education major. “I really enjoyed the one special education class that I took, and I think there would be a demand for more classes and practicum placements if they existed.”
“The College of Education is also working with the College of Arts and Sciences to create an interdisciplinary STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) major,” Gendernalik-Cooper said of the new degree.
She emphasized the importance of a well-prepared elementary school teacher, as they must introduce children to almost every discipline.
“Our target population for the program would be prospective elementary educators,” she said, but also expressed that the major would be available to anyone.
According to Gendernalik-Cooper, such a program requires intensive planning from multiple departments and may take some time to establish.
The new programs will be marketed especially to the class of 2016 as an advantage of the UMW College of Education, in comparison to similar undergraduate programs.