Due to COVID-19, William Jewell College is offering a $1000 scholarship to students applying to the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree. Students are eligible for the scholarship if they apply by May 15 and start courses this summer.
Created to address the problem of teacher shortages in the area, the MAT program enables people with a college degree to gain certification to teach high school in just one calendar year.
Dr. Donna Gardner, professor of education, explained the motivation for the program and its goals.
“In response to the emerging teacher shortage in our region the Department of Education created Jewell’s new Master of Arts in Teaching program, which is an alternate secondary teacher certification program,” Gardner said. “The program’s goals are identical to our undergraduate teacher education program goals which are based on the knowledge and skills that a professional teacher needs to acquire. Our overarching goal is to provide the same high-quality teacher preparation to the MAT alternative teacher preparation students as we do to our undergraduate students.”
Taking into account the disruptive effects of the pandemic, Jewell’s department of education decided to take action to make the MAT program accessible to students this year.
“The MAT program was just approved by the Higher Learning Commission this January, so applicants already faced a short timeline and then [COVID-19] intervened,” Gardner explained. “Jewell made two adjustments in response. First, we changed our policy so that the required certification content test does not have to be passed until the end of the first semester in the program, to give applicants more flexibility. Second, because a lot of people’s lives have been disrupted, the College decided to offer a one-time $1000 scholarship for applicants beginning the program this summer.”
A small cohort of students has already enrolled in the program to begin this summer, and applications are open until May 15.
“The current cohort is made of half new college graduates and half returning adults who have decided to become teachers. They represent a variety of content fields from business to art to social studies. Three of the applicants will do the one year program and begin student teaching in the fall,” said Gardner.
In explaining the program, Gardner emphasized the broad curriculum and varieties of content areas.
“The program offers high school teacher certification in 21 content fields consistent with Jewell’s curriculum and leads to teacher certification in grades 9-12 including in some fields in which we do not offer undergraduate teacher certification. Admission to the program requires a ‘B’ or better grade point average in the applicant’s content field as well as overall in their baccalaureate degree,” Gardner said.
Gardner continued by elaborating on the industry needs the program aims to address.
“There have been claims of a teaching shortage for the past three decades but the shortages were localized or in specific fields. Now there is a real teaching shortage coming in most fields as a large group of teachers retire,” said Gardner. “Jewell responded to that emerging need so that both our own undergraduates who decided late in their undergraduate degree that they wanted to be teachers and that community members who also made that decision would have a quick and/or flexible path to teacher certification.”
The program offers specialized courses to ensure students become effective teachers while taking only necessary courses. The MAT is available for full or part-time students so that participants can finish the program in the manner best for them.
“The MAT student’s degree in the content field plus the required Missouri Content Assessment verify the person’s content expertise meaning that the student has only to complete the required education courses and student teach. The program has been designed in both one and two-year sequences so that each student can choose how they would like to manage their study with their personal situation,” said Gardner.
Students in the program full-time will start summer courses June 1. The one-year full-time program entails coursework in the summer term and both coursework and student teaching for the fall and spring semesters of the program. The cost of the program is $500 per credit hour. Undergraduate students at Jewell can stay on campus for an additional year to complete the program.
More information can be found on the program page. Anyone interested can either apply online at https://jewell.edu/programs/education-master-arts-teaching or email the program’s advisor, Jennifer Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.