Lees-McRae College Will Now Offer Master’s Degree to Address Teacher Shortages

Published Friday, July 27, 2018 at 10:51 am

For the first time in Lees-McRae College history, students will now be able to pursue a master’s degree.

The Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education (MAT) is a 39–41 credit hour graduate program that will lead to the teacher candidate’s ability to apply for both initial and advanced teacher licensure.

Dean of Arts, Humanities and Education, Pamela Vesely said the program was vital now more than ever due to “[current] teachers in North Carolina and surrounding states reaching retirement age.”

“Additionally, there is a growing need for teachers at the secondary level due to pupil enrollment and the development of private and charter schools,” Vesely added.

The program intends to create qualified teachers in three new concentration areas: social studies and history, biology, or English.

“This program is designed for college graduates who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a content field (social studies and history, biology, or English) and who wish to teach at the high school level,” Vesely added. “Our MAT program is designed to focus on helping teacher candidates gain expertise in teaching content material and standards in order to successfully pass license examinations and to make a successful transition into high school classrooms.”

Provost and Dean of the Faculty Todd Lidh said, “Lees-McRae is a college that helps create opportunities through education, and that’s exactly what our new MAT program is all about: sending highly-qualified teachers into our public schools so they can help provide opportunities for the next generation.”

Lees-McRae received approval for the program from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in June 2018 and will begin enrolling students at the new level in the fall.

All students in the program will complete his or her degree through two stages to fit their professional and personal needs.

The initial stage, which lasts the first three terms of the program, is configured to allow students to take their state teacher license examination, and be recommended for a North Carolina teaching license, prior to their intended graduation.

Because of this, students can enter the classroom sooner and gain experience ahead of their peers. This gives students the opportunity to work while concluding the final term or “advanced stage” in order to earn their master’s degree.

The program also boasts built-in flexibility and convenience, especially for those already teaching. Students have the option to pursue their degree on campus, entirely online or partially online and in person.

The program will begin enrolling students August 20 with the first class projected to graduate at the new degree level on December 13, 2020.

President of Lees-McRae, Dr. Lee King, shared his excitement on the historical academic landmark.

“The affirmation by SACSCOC is yet another positive step forward for Lees-McRae in our evolution as a more comprehensive institution,” King said. “This is one of the defining moments in [our] history and sets the stage for additional growth in graduate programs that will serve the High Country. I am particularly proud that our first graduate program will enhance the professional practice of teachers.”

Learn more about the Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education program here.

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