Specialist in Education degree unveiled
Jan. 15, 2010

LaGrange College’s Education Department is expanding to include a Specialist in Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, scheduled to begin in June. Candidates entering the program will be expected to hold a master’s degree and a teacher certification.

“The specialist degree is essentially a pre-doctorate in education where teachers will learn about advanced assessment methods and leadership strategies,” said Dr. Don Livingston, former Chair of the department, who has been working on the project from the beginning.

He said the impetus for launching the program came from the College’s partners in the Troup County school system.

“Through formal and informal dialogue with school leaders in 2008, we discovered that classroom teachers were increasingly assuming grade-level and department-wide curriculum decision-making responsibilities,” he said. “Our school district partners suggested that LaGrange College offer a specialist program that would prepare teachers to guide and shape curriculum as team leaders, curriculum/graduation coaches and department chairs.”

The program consists of 30 semester hours beyond the master’s degree and usually requires five academic semesters to complete, starting in June’s first summer term and finishing at the end of the second summer term in the following year’s July, according to Dr. Margie Yates, Chair of the department.

“All education faculty and staff, many arts and sciences faculty members, and library faculty are involved or will be involved in the planning and implementation of courses and coursework,” she said. “Drs. Don Livingston and David Cason are members of state task forces to ensure the program will meet all standards required by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.”

Yates said she has been interviewing potential candidates and is impressed with their diverse backgrounds, experience and scholarship.

“Many potential candidates have expressed enthusiasm and excitement about the comparative education theme that is threaded throughout the program courses and research sequence,” she said.

Livingston said what makes the LaGrange College program unique is that comparative education focus.

“Comparative education is a well-established field of study that investigates how educational practice is done in different countries and other areas of the U.S.,” he said. “We will enhance this component of the program through travel courses.”

 With the addition of the new degree, the Education Department now offers three graduate programs, including a Master of Arts in Teaching in math, biology, history, English, or middle grades; a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction; and a Specialist in Education in Curriculum and Instruction.

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