July 16, 2018

SIU offers unique new curriculum and instruction master’s program featuring hybrid of online and summer classes

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A program reinvention at Southern Illinois University Carbondale means traditional and non-traditional educators can now earn a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in just four semesters via a unique, flexible format that combines summer classroom courses in a non-traditional location with online courses the rest of the year.

Begins this fall

The new format launches this fall with online courses. They will continue during the spring semester and during the intercession between the spring and summer semesters. Those courses are completely online.

Then for six weeks during summer 2019, the class will meet at Touch of Nature Environmental Center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. Participants will complete their final three courses amidst the beauty of the Shawnee National Forest.

Students completing the prescribed course sequence can thus finish the program and receive their master’s degree in just four semesters over a 15-month period.

The program design is in keeping with SIU’s goal of reaching students, wherever they are, and providing them with the diverse educational programs and experiences they desire.

Diverse career applications

People from a variety of backgrounds could benefit from the program, according to Christie McIntyre, associate professor and chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Some of the students will be licensed teachers in preschool-grade 12 schools while others will work at community colleges, human service agencies, businesses, colleges or universities.

Financially beneficial

Obtaining a master’s degree is valuable in terms of compensation and the job outlook, according to statistical data, McIntyre said.

The National Council on Teacher Quality found that about 96 percent of the nation’s 112 largest school districts pay teachers a higher salary if they have a master’s degree. In fact, the National Center on Education Statistics found the median salary for a teacher with a master’s degree was $57,831 versus $46,343 with a bachelor’s degree for 2011-12, the last year for which numbers are available.

Likewise, the unemployment rate for educators with no experience is about 1.9 percent with a master’s degree and 5.4 percent with a bachelor’s degree, McIntyre notes.

Few pre-requisites

To apply for the program, a person must have earned a bachelor’s degree and have a GPA of at least 2.7 for the last 60 hours of the bachelor’s program.

The program does not provide a professional educator license, required for teaching in public schools. To learn more about becoming a public school teacher, visit SIU’s Teacher Education Program website.

Program philosophy translates to all environments

The program’s place-based educational philosophy acknowledges the value of working within the various cultures and learning environments of students. This immersion forms a foundation for studies in various curriculum aspects and assures that learning translates to urban, rural or suburban environments, to all ages and to diverse community experiences and needs, as well as to accessible learning environments, McIntyre said.

The master’s program focuses on community engagement and advocacy, understanding the learner, learning assessment, curriculum development, effective instruction, research in practice and leadership for change.

To learn more

For additional information, email teach.learn.lead@siu.edu, call 618/536-2441 or visit http://ehs.siu.edu/ci/graduate/master-of-science-in-education.php.

Scholarship opportunities are available for the program.