Lander to offer a new master's degree for teachers and business and community professionals

October 06, 2011

Lander University is preparing to introduce a new master's degree program that Dr. Michael Murphy, assistant professor of teacher education, said responds to the national push for "21st century learning initiatives."

The Master of Education in Teaching and Learning with Concentrations in Diverse Learners, Exercise and Sports Studies and Instructional Technology received final approval from the state Commission on Higher Education on Oct. 6. Dr. Dava O'Connor, chair of Lander's Department of Teacher Education, said applications for admission are being accepted now with classes set to begin in January of 2012.

The new program will replace Lander's Master of Education in Elementary Education, which has been phased out. Barbara Ervin, associate professor of education and director of Montessori and graduate programs at Lander, said, "We decided its focus was too narrow." As the name implies, the new program is much broader in scope.

According to Ervin, Murphy and O'Connor, the new master's is the product of two years of research, investigation and planning. They said the department surveyed several academic and business organizations and substantiated a need for the program locally, statewide and beyond.

One track is designed for certified teachers. It will prepare them to provide multimedia-based learning that addresses diverse classroom populations. The second track will be for non-teachers who are working or seeking jobs in a business or institution that that uses a broad range of technology for training, personal development and other work related activities. The goal to provide both groups the skills to use the best technology available to communicate with local, regional and global communities.

Six public and private colleges and universities in South Carolina offer similar master's programs, but Lander's program is unique because of the dual track for certified teachers and non-certified individuals in the business and professional communities.

The Lander curriculum will combine traditional on campus classroom sessions and online learning.

O'Connor said the program will also create a first-time master's degree in Lander's Department of Physical Education and Exercise Studies (PEES), which is part of the College of Education. She added, "It will take PEES to the next level and make graduates more marketable."

She anticipates that 16 to 20 students will be admitted to the program in January with numbers increasing over a five-year period. Lander received a $233,000 grant from the Self Family Foundation to provide scholarship assistance to those who qualify.

For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, call the Department of Teacher Education at 864-388-8628 or visit the Graduate Studies section of our site..