New degrees offered based on conversations with students, education partners

By

Erik Ketcherside

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University is offering five new degree programs beginning fall 2020: three master’s degrees and two bachelor’s, including one that leads to teacher certification for visually impaired students. Four degrees are offered 100-percent online.

MLFTC also redesigned the curriculum for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Education (Educational Studies) for both campus and online students, to include more areas of study and more professional experiences. We now have 11 core tracks in areas such as, health, business, political science, in addtion to a series of three internships in the student’s choice of setting.

Five new degrees is more than the college usually offers with the start of a new academic year, says Kevin Laack, MLFTC’s director of student recruitment, but the increase is justified.

“Our students are telling us they want options,” Laack says, “that they want more programs with clear pathways to graduation and purposeful careers. And we’re committed to designing programs to meet those needs and creating a robust pipeline of talented educators for our schools and communities.”

Laack says, “We identify new degree programs after listening to what our students and partner organizations in the field tell us they need and want. Those conversations are invaluable to us as we work to meet the needs of our students and communities.” Laack points to the new teacher certification program, the bachelor’s degree in special education with a concentration in visual impairment, as an important example.

“School districts across Arizona and, indeed, nationwide have tremendous difficulty recruiting qualified teachers for their visually impaired students because teachers with this particular specialization are so hard to find,” Laack says. “Working closely with the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix, MLFTC launched this degree program, the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi, to meet this specific need.”

New Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College education degrees for 2020–21

Bachelor of Arts in Education, Special Education (Visual Impairment)

Locations: Tempe campus, West campus

This degree prepares graduates to work with blind and partially sighted students across educational settings, and leads to dual-certification in Visual Impairment (birth--grade 12) and Mild-Moderate Special Education (K--12) through a strong foundation in evidence-based practices in special education; and in specific teaching methodologies for students with visual impairments. The curriculum aligns with standards of the Council for Exceptional Children, and particular emphasis is given to assistive technology to advance learning in the classroom and in daily life. In Term 5, the program is delivered through a partnership with the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix, with courses taught by faculty associates from FBC and full-time ASU faculty members. Students take face-to-face classes on an ASU campus and the FBC main campus, and participate in internships and residencies at the FBC and within local school districts.

Bachelor of Applied Science (Early Childhood Education)

Location: Online

The Early Childhood BAS is intended for students who have an Associate of Applied Science degree from an accredited institution and are employed in an early childhood setting that does not require teacher certification. They will study child development, developmentally appropriate learning goals and sequences, instructional strategies and supports, highly individualized instruction, classroom management, advocacy and leadership, and family resources and supports. The student’s existing employment setting allows them to implement their new knowledge throughout the coursework as they earn their degree.

Master of Arts in Education

Location: Online

This MA is designed for professionals interested in learning about education or whose work intersects with education. It prepares them to work with children, youth and adults in formal or informal learning environments in nonprofits, community institutions, civic organizations and businesses. The skills it provides in effective communication, collaboration, leadership, advocacy, and innovation are essential to education professionals who hope to advance their careers, and for students whose goal is to shape society by supporting educational endeavors. 

Master of Arts in Education (Literacy Education)

Location: Online

Grounded in pedagogical and content knowledge and with a solid theoretical foundation of literacy, the MA in Education (Literacy Education) enables graduates to think deeply about literacy theories, pedagogies and resources. They learn how to support inclusive educational practices, critical-thinking skills and multiliteracies necessary in a diverse and global society. The use of technology to encourage critical thinking and as a resource for teaching, assessment and inquiry is embedded throughout the program. Graduates prepare to be literacy leaders in any area in which reading, writing, oral language and the visual arts are required.

Master of Arts in Education (Educating Multilingual Learners)

Location: Online

Through this MA, students prepare to educate bilingual and multilingual learners in settings including pre-K–12 schools, colleges and universities, and other organizations serving linguistically diverse populations. Graduates gain skills and knowledge in language and literacy development, pedagogy, culture and context, and advocacy for multilingual learners. All courses in this online program designed and led by tenured faculty. While there is no requirement that students entering the program hold or are seeking teacher certification, this MA in Education is an excellent choice for teachers seeking to improve their preparation for bilingual and multilingual learners.

Restructured degree for 2020–21

Bachelor of Arts in Education, Educational Studies

Locations: Polytechnic, Tempe and West campuses; and online

The MLFTC Bachelor of Arts in Education in Educational Studies has been a popular choice for students seeking a career among a wide range of learning contexts. For 2020, the curriculum for both the campus and online programs has been redesigned to offer more variety in areas of study and professional experiences to train students for educator roles other than K–12 teacher. Eleven core tracks are offered including health, business, and political science, and a series of three internships are available in the student’s choice of setting. The BAE readies graduates to work with children, youth and adults in formal or informal learning environments within nonprofits, community institutions, civic organizations and businesses. Coursework and internships develop skills for communication, collaboration, leadership, advocacy and innovation.

Learn more about undergraduate degree and master’s degree programs at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.