Pay It Forward
As Loyola continues to find ways to emphasize the importance of real-world experience, the school has launched a new master of arts in teaching degree.
"The MAT is important for Loyola because it provides a path to certification and a master’s degree for three distinct groups: students with undergraduate degrees in an area other than education, individuals who are teaching without certification, and persons who are employed in another field but would like to teach," says Dr. Glenda Hembree, assistant professor of education. "Students get certification and a master’s degree, which leads to an increased salary and upward mobility in education."
The program is designed to fit the schedules of working professionals, and up to 40 percent of courses will be online. In addition, the cost is only about half of regular graduate tuition. Approved by the Louisiana State Department of Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the program should be able to be completed in a little over a year if students take at least 9 hours per semester, including summers. Teachers who are currently employed but not yet certified can use their own classrooms for any courserelated activities.
Coursework includes a year-long internship as well as a wide variety of relevant topics ranging from multiculturalism and social justice to adolescent learners.
"The program places an emphasis on competency-based skills and real-world situations," says Dr. Jane Chauvin, professor emerita of education. "Our first course in Fall 2016 focuses on research in the area of best practices in teaching. It will be intellectually stimulating and practical at the same time. All teachers could benefit from this course."
Benefits are already being felt for student Ryan Burgess, who is pursuing the MAT degree.
"Loyola’s MAT program really stood out to me as being a great option due to the hybrid program," Burgess says. "Some classes are online, and some are in person—there’s still a sense of being connected to a campus and to the educators, but the many online courses offered make it flexible for people like me who work full-time or have families. I also really appreciate that a teaching internship is built into the course so that my experience in the classroom can be
used as part of the curriculum. Already what I’ve learned has informed my current teaching."
Overall, Burgess is eager for what’s to come: "Not only will I receive my certification for the grade levels I want to teach, but the degree will allow me to obtain the necessary tools and knowledge to be the best classroom teacher I can be. I've had plenty of on-the-job training as an English teacher for lower grades, but I’m so excited to begin working with older students. It was in junior high and high school that I truly learned to appreciate classic literature and the art of writing. I can’t wait to instill that same love, or at least knowledge, in the students I teach in the future."