News Archive

College offers first Master's Programs in Education and Teaching

Students can earn masters degrees in two critical shortage areas - ESL and special education

4/19/2005 10:15:09 AM


LYNCHBURG – Randolph-Macon Woman’s College recently announced its first master’s program. The College will begin offering a master’s degree program in the summer of 2006.

Candidates will be able to enter programs for a Master of the Arts in Teaching or a Master of Education in two, critical shortage areas: English for Second Language Learners (ESL) and Special Education-Learning Disabilities.

College officials designed the program to fill the needs of local, state and national school divisions by providing highly qualified teachers in these critical shortage areas.

“The Virginia Department of Education has designated ESL and special education as critical teacher shortage areas,” said Peggy Schimmoeller, chair of the Education Department. “With accelerating retirements and the unacceptably high rate of teacher attrition, an urgent need exists to prepare excellent teachers. The primary goal of this proposed graduate program is to attract, prepare, and retain highly qualified ESL and special education teachers.”

Locally, the program will allow the College to continue its strong partnerships with local schools and community agencies dedicated to the education of our community’s youth, she added.

The Master of Arts in teaching will prepare qualified ESL and special education teachers to be leaders in education. The program consists of 36 credit hours. Undergraduate students can complete initial teacher licensure and a master’s degree after a fifth year of study in a summer-fall-spring cycle.

The 36-hour Master of Education option is open to the teachers who hold a valid teaching license. This program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students can expect to complete the program in a summer-fall-spring cycle. Part-time students may complete the coursework at their own pace. Courses will be taught at times compatible with teachers’ schedules. Students will receive endorsement in ESL or special education.

Local school divisions are excited about the opportunities this program presents to its current teachers as well as to the recruiting opportunities for the divisions themselves.

Bedford County Public Schools, for instance, has seen an increased need for highly qualified and endorsed ESL and special education teachers.

“We support RMWC’s efforts to establish a masters’ level program to provide licensed teachers in the areas of special education and English as a second language,” said Sara Staton, director of special services. “These high need areas in the education profession
pose a challenge to divisions looking for teachers that are well prepared for working with these learners. We would also support student teaching experiences within the schools with RMWC candidates. We look forward to working w/ the College in their endeavor.”

Randolph-Macon’s high level of faculty expertise supports the emphasis on experiential learning, opportunities for research, and integration of technology required of graduate work. R-MWC, rich with international opportunities and a diverse student population, provides an environment that will blends well with these two specialty areas.

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations