MAT and MSEd Grad Programs Reinstated

SUNY New Paltz is accepting fall 2011 applications for its revised Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Science in Education (MSEd) programs in adolescence education after new enrollments in some strands of the programs were suspended for fall 2009.

Certain academic areas of the MAT and MSEd programs were suspended by the administration in fall 2009 because they were showing uneven enrollment patterns, said Mary Stella Deen, interim dean of the Graduate School at SUNY New Paltz.

Administrators asked the Department of Secondary Education to revise their programs and make them more attractive, but to retain quality to increase enrollment, Deen said.

Before the suspension, all the programs, not just the academic areas that were suspended, were being reviewed for revision by the Secondary Education department, said Devon Duhaney, chair of the Secondary Education department.

After the suspension, the department’s focus shifted to revising the programs and getting them up and running again, Duhaney said.

The academic areas of the MAT and MSEd program that were suspended in fall 2009, but are being reinstated for fall 2011 are chemistry, French, Spanish, earth science and math. English, social studies and biology were the three strands that were not suspended.

The Secondary Education department completed the revision process in collaboration with departments from the College of Liberal Arts and Science, the School of Science and Engineering and the Education Studies Department in the School of Education.

“It was a collaborative effort to prepare teacher candidates in both academic content and pedagogical skill,” Deen said.

The revised MAT program decreased the number of credits required to complete the program to 45-48 credits, down from 56 credits. Fewer credits mean that students will ultimately pay less for their MAT degree.

The revised MSEd program proposes two liberal arts electives and professional education courses to students who plan to teach in the areas of foreign language, mathematics and science. Under the old plan of study, students took five disciplinary courses. Education students studying in the areas of English and social studies will continue to take five disciplinary courses under the new plan of study.

New scholarships are available for both programs.

Some students believe that the revised programs will encourage education students to stay in New Paltz for graduate school.

“The format of the new MAT programs allows students to achieve a Master’s degree in three semesters,” said Kimberly Grogan, a graduate student in the English program. “If you take courses you could potentially be done in one year.”

If the revised strands of the programs do not help increase student enrollment the department and the Graduate School will need to “work more aggressively on recruiting persons to the strands of MAT and MSEd programs,” Duhaney said.

The MAT program is open to candidates who are in pursuit of initial teaching and professional teaching certification. The MSEd program is open to prospective students who have already obtained their initial certification at an undergraduate level and are seeking a professional certification within their master’s degree.

The suspension of new enrollment in some strands of the programs in fall 2009 did not affect the students that were already enrolled in those programs, Duhaney said.

According to Deen, the reinstatement of these strands may  increase enrollment and bring in more revenue. She said the reinstatement could have a positive impact on the school’s budget.