New Advances for Master of Science in Education Program

New Advances for Master of Science in Education Program

MSEd program

New changes in SESP’s Master of Science in Education (MSEd) program are designed to make the curriculum more valuable than ever for today’s teachers. The program is adopting a new focus in the research area, new course work in English as a Second Language and new enhancements for elementary teaching.

“We’re excited. Many of these changes have been discussed for years,” says Timothy Dohrer, director of the MSEd program. The graduate program offers concentrations in secondary teaching, elementary teaching and teacher leadership to prepare skilled educators and improve education.

Master’s project
New this fall, two sequential courses for the required master’s project will focus on action research, which involves teachers conducting research on their own practice while teaching. “We want to give teachers the skills they will use as action researchers,” says Dohrer, pointing out that action research is more practical for teachers than scientific research for journal publication. “A lot of great work has been done in this area.”

The master’s project remains a hallmark of the MSEd program as it emphasizes inquiry and reflection on a research topic of interest in teaching and learning. Students will continue to infuse traditional scientific research into their action research, according to Dohrer.

ESL teaching course
Because of the growing need for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, the MSEd program is adding a foundations course in ESL teaching. A leading ESL researcher will be writing the curriculum and teaching the course.

In the future, SESP will offer a teaching endorsement in ESL in conjunction with the Northwestern Department of Linguistics. “There’s a desperate need for teachers endorsed in ESL,” Dohrer explains.

Elementary teaching
Enhancements to the curriculum of the elementary teaching concentration will strengthen requirements. For example, starting in the fall methods classes will be required in all of these subjects: mathematics, science, literacy and social studies.

“We think it’s important that an elementary school teacher has a background in the pedagogy related to all four,” says Dohrer, especially in light of the new Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Other minor changes to the elementary teaching curriculum include the addition of an elementary-level mathematics course.

“We’re getting a good response to the changes,” Dohrer notes.

The MS in Education program at SESP distinguishes itself in a number of ways. Most fundamentally, the program is known for balancing the theoretical and the technical — in other words, theory and practice. “Our students say they feel technically prepared and also have a deep philosophical background,” Dohrer notes.

In addition, the program is recognized for its commitment to urban and suburban education. It also offers a one-year path to teacher licensure.

Importantly, the program is known for excellent instructors. Faculty members include professors doing research in key areas, such as Brian Reiser in science, Miriam Sherin in mathematics education and Carol Lee in literacy education. In addition, the “fabulous adjunct instructors” include many who are Golden Apple winners, Nationally Board Certified, and master teachers in their schools, Dohrer explains. “Students are telling us we have the best instructors!”

For anyone interested in applying to the Northwestern University Master of Science in Education Program, materials are due May 11 for those beginning in summer 2015 and August 17 for fall 2015. Detailed application information is available on the MSEd website.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 5/1/15