Ohio University Southern helping turn teachers into masters

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2005

Next year, Ohio University Southern will be turning the tables on teachers, by giving them the chance to be the ones filling up desks.

The school recently announced that in January 2006 it would begin offering a graduate program leading to masters in education degree in curriculum and instruction.

The program is a series of 11 classes that should be completed by the summer 2007.

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Rena Allen directs Ohio's Appalachian Initiative, a leadership development program for educators across the 29 Appalachian counties. Allen said she thought it was important to keep the course load light to make the program realistic.

"The timeline is not that long, and I don't think it will be that difficult to manage taking graduate work while they're teaching full-time," Allen said.

"Teachers are so overwhelmed with just the demands of the classroom that it's really hard to take on something that requires a whole lot of extra time during that school year."

Besides the time commitment, the program also requires a cash investment. Though she wasn't sure exactly what the OUS master's degree would run, Allen said that a typical education graduate program generally costs around $10,000 dollars.

While that figure might smart even more for teachers than a tack left in their chair, Allen said that it can usually be recouped within a few years thanks to pay increases for teachers with master's degrees.

But teachers have more reason to enroll than just a fatter paycheck.

Ohio now requires newly licensed teachers to have a master's degree within their first 12 years of teaching.

Even if it wasn't required, Allen said that obtaining a master's would still be a key part of any teacher's growth.

"It's just part of the profession, staying current, increasing your knowledge and expertise in how to most effectively teach," Allen said. "Having a master's degree now is a very real expectation of our teachers."

Part of staying current is keeping up with new teaching methods, so the program offers classes in technology application and how to include children with different learning styles.

This sort of graduate program rotates through OU's regional campuses, and Allen was not aware when it would return to OUS.