Refocused MAT program targets 'career changers'
Contact: Christina Chapple
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University has refocused its Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program to meet the needs of local school districts and offer opportunities to professionals who want to change careers to become elementary teachers.
The program will begin enrolling its first 15-student cohort this summer, targeting “people who are at a pivotal point in their careers or work status who want to teach,” said Diane Allen, dean of the College of Education and Human Development.
Through the intensive full-time program, participants can earn a master’s degree with certification in grades 1-5 in a year and a half, Allen said.
“I think there are people out there who have always wanted to teach, but who, for whatever reason, were funneled another way,” Allen said. “They are in jobs or careers where what they’re doing is not as meaningful to them, not where their heart is.”
Candidates for admission must have three years of successful work experience; a bachelor’s degree with a 2.75 cumulative grade point average or a master’s degree with a 3.0 GPA; and satisfactory scores on the Praxis I and Praxis II (Content Knowledge) tests and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). They must also meet regular university admission requirements and participate in a mandatory admissions interview.
The deadline for applying for admission consideration is March 15, 2008.
MAT Coordinator Paul Goodwin anticipates that the program will be attractive to “someone who is ready for a change. They can come here and in five semesters they can get their teaching certificate and be in a school.”
“The ideal candidate,” Allen said, “would be someone with a sense of wanting to give back, someone who is mature, has a good solid knowledge base, and has experience working with people – because children are people, too, just smaller! We want people who, at whatever stage of their life, want to be committed to the profession.”
Southeastern hopes to target career areas such as the military, medical fields, and industry to draw a diverse pool of candidates for the MAT degree.
MAT graduate students will be advised about adding additional certification to the grades 1-5 credentials that they will earn with the degree. Extending credentials to include certification in secondary or middle school often involves testing, rather than additional coursework, Jacob said.
Southeastern offers non-master’s degree alternative certification programs for K-12 and secondary school teachers. The university also offers a master’s degree program for special education teachers. The MAT program will now be the sole route for those who want alternative certification in elementary grades 1-5.
Allen said the MAT program will continue the same rigorous coursework and will incorporate field experience and research projects centered at the Southeastern Lab School. After an extensive initial summer session, students will be assigned a Lab School mentor teacher and spend at least two mornings each week in their classrooms.
“The opportunity to conduct research in the Lab School will be a big plus for not only the MAT students but also the Southeastern faculty who will be teaching these courses,” said Shirley Jacob, head of the Department of Teaching and Learning.
Additional information about the MAT admission requirements and process is available by contacting Paul Goodwin, 985-549-3422, firstname.lastname@example.org, or college’s graduate program coordinator, Nicki Anzelmo-Skelton, 985-549-5234, email@example.com.