Designing An MsEd Thats Right For Your Needs

In today’s educational environment, teachers often need the versatility to teach multiple subjects and must continually update their skills to keep pace with the changing needs of students and schools. The Self-Designed specialization in the MS in Education program gives you the flexibility to customize your program across multiple content areas and gain the specific skill set you need to be a more effective educator.

Below are examples of typical situations that you or your colleagues may experience and how a self-designed MSEd program can help you—and your students—thrive.

Phillis: Refreshing Skills, Strengthening Core Content Area

Phillis has been an elementary school teacher for more than 15 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with teacher licensure. Working in a team-teach environment, she focused on reading, literacy, and social studies, and her partner teacher handled math and science. This year, however, the school restructured and Phillis is now teaching all content areas to her first-grade students.

Professional Goals: Phillis knows she needs to brush up on math and science instruction, but her real passion is for improving reading and literacy.

Motivation: As a veteran teacher, Phillis wants to find a degree program that will enable her to adapt to meet the needs of her students while nurturing her special interest in literacy.

Self-Designed Plan: The MSEd Self-Designed specialization with an emphasis on elementary reading and literacy (ERL) and elective courses in math and science allows Phillis to devise a comprehensive plan of study that fulfills both of her goals.

Phillis’ Plan of Study

Semester Course Number Course Type
1 EDUC 6610: Teacher as Professional Core Course
2 EDUC 6616: Enhancing Learning for Diverse Populations Core Course
3 MATH 6561: Learning and Teaching Mathematics Elective Course
4 READ 6705: Reading and Literacy Today Emphasis Area Course
5 MATH 6562: The Base Ten Number System and Operations: Addition/Subtraction Elective Course
6 SCIE 6660: The Nature of Science Elective Course
7 READ 6727: Reading and Literacy Growth, Grades 4–6 Emphasis Area Course
8 EDUC 6733: Action Research for Educators Core Course
9 SCIE 6661: Exploring the Physical World Elective Course
10 READ 6609: Literacy in Academically Diverse Classrooms Emphasis Area Course

Sheri: Connecting With Diverse Student Populations

Sheri, an elementary school teacher for 6 years, teaches grades 2–4. She recently moved to a new school and now teaches a more diverse population of students, including several students with special needs that require accommodations.

Professional Goals: Overall, Sheri is doing well in her new school, but she is struggling to connect with some of her students and would like to improve her instructional approach, particularly with her special needs students.

Motivation: In addition to becoming acclimated to a new school and new classroom challenges, Sheri has two young children, so she is looking for a degree program that fits her busy schedule while fulfilling her professional needs.

Self-Designed Plan: Sheri created a Self-Designed specialization with an emphasis in curriculum, instruction, and assessment (CIA). She also selected two elective courses in teaching English language learners (TELL) and two courses in special education. The option to choose self-directed courses or adjust her course load allows her the flexibility to work around her schedule.

Sheri’s Plan of Study

Semester Course Number Course Type
1 EDUC 6610: Teacher as Professional Core Course
2 EDUC 6616: Enhancing Learning for Diverse Populations Core Course
3 EDUC 6726: Understanding the English Language Learner Elective Course
4 EDUC 6730: Curriculum Design for Learning Emphasis Area Course
5 EDUC 6728: Strategies for Teaching Content to English Language Learners Elective Course
6 EDUC 6781: Special Education: Honoring Due Process Elective Course
7 EDUC 6734: Differentiating Instruction for Student Success Emphasis Area Course
8 EDUC 6733: Action Research for Educators Core Course
9 EDUC 6783: Creating Effective Behavior Interventions Elective Course
10 EDUC 6735: Helping Students Become Self-Directed Learners Emphasis Area Course

Ryan: Taking the Lead With Technology

Ryan has been teaching high school photography for more than 10 years. He has an eye for new technology and is the technology lead for his school. Ryan connects well with his students—he’s one of the school’s most popular teachers—and is in a good position to take on new leadership roles.

Professional Goals: Although he tends to explore technology integration on his own, Ryan is always looking for new ways to integrate technology into his classroom and school. He wants to take on a greater leadership role as well as expand his technology responsibilities.

Motivation: Ryan is looking for a degree program that allows him to deepen his knowledge of education technology while preparing him for leadership.

Self-Designed Plan: Ryan chose the Self-Designed specialization with an emphasis on integrating technology in the classroom. His elective courses are in teacher leadership.

Ryan’s Plan of Study

Semester Course Number Course Type
1 EDUC 6610: Teacher as Professional Core Course
2 EDUC 6616: Enhancing Learning for Diverse Populations Core Course
3 EDUC 6647: Dynamic Teacher Leadership Elective Course
4 EDUC 6710: Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society Emphasis Area Course
5 EDUC 6651: Teacher Leadership in the Classroom: Increasing Learning and Achievement Elective Course
6 EDUC 6655: Teacher Leadership: Mentoring, Coaching, and Collaboration With Colleagues Elective Course
7 EDUC 6713: Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas Emphasis Area Course
8 EDUC 6733: Action Research for Educators Core Course
9 EDUC 6659: Teacher Leadership in Professional Learning Communities Elective Course
10 EDUC 6775: New and Emerging Technologies Emphasis Area Course

Gary: Pursuing Expanded Skill Set, Greater Responsibility

Gary has a degree in political science. During his job search, he had an opportunity to work as a substitute teacher. He felt that he made a difference in the students’ lives and decided to pursue alternative certification in social studies. He is now teaching full time as a middle school social studies teacher, but he wants to learn more in several key areas.

Professional Goals: Gary has found his home in teaching but wants to continue differentiating himself so he can take on new responsibilities at his school. He is highly motivated and wants to connect better with his students by adjusting his teaching strategy based on who is in his class. He would like to complete his program as quickly as possible so he can take on a new role in his school.

Motivation: Gary is very enthusiastic about teaching and wants to excel—quickly. He also is active in his community, church, and several volunteer groups, so he needs a degree program that will accommodate his full schedule.

Self-Designed Plan: The MS in Education with a Self-Designed specialization met all of Gary’s requirements. He created a program that is more interdisciplinary and makes him more marketable. He chose curriculum, instruction, and assessment (CIA) as his area of emphasis, with electives in teacher leadership. He also decided to move through the program more quickly with the Progress at Your Pace option.

Gary’s Plan of Study

Semester Course Number Course Type
1 EDUC 6610: Teacher as Professional Core Course
2 EDUC 6616: Enhancing Learning for Diverse Populations Core Course
2 EDUC 6731: Assessment for Student Learning Elective Course
3 EDUC6734: Differentiating Instruction for Student Success Emphasis Area Course
4 EDUC 6655: Teacher Leadership: Mentoring, Coaching, and Collaboration With Colleagues Elective Course
4 EDUC 6674: Designing Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Students With Special Needs Elective Course
5 EDUC 6730: Curriculum Design for Learning Emphasis Area Course
6 EDUC 6733: Action Research for Educators Core Course
7 EDUC 6659: Teacher Leadership in Professional Learning Communities Elective Course
7 EDUC 6735: Helping Students Become Self-Directed Learners Emphasis Area Course

Speak with an enrollment advisor for more information on how an MS in Education with a Self-Designed specialization could help you meet your professional goals or needs.

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