Loyola offers new graduate program

India Yarborough

A new group of students joins the Loyola family this semester: those pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Teaching.

Loyola University New Orleans debuted its new graduate degree program at the start of the semester, offering one course taught by the Jane Chauvin, director of teacher certification. Upon completion of the program’s coursework, graduates will receive teaching certification at the secondary level and a master’s degree in teaching.

“MAT is a graduate level degree. Teacher certification is a credential which allows you to teach. You get both with our program,” Chauvin said.

The new program will not affect the roughly 30 undergraduate students currently pursuing a teacher certification, as potential students may only apply for the master’s program if they lack the certification.

About 40 percent of classes in the program will take place online, and students could earn a degree in four semesters by completing nine hours each semester. Loyola professors will teach most courses, but Chauvin said the school may hire adjunct professors depending on the course and a professor’s expertise.

According to Maria Calzada, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, five teachers have enrolled in the program’s inaugural course.

“Really the program will start in the spring semester,” Calzada says. “With very little PR, we already have five people listed, so I will not be surprised if we get 15 or 20 in January.”

Ryan Burgess A’12 is one of the five students enrolled in the program’s first course.

“Honestly, I am just excited to begin learning again,” Burgess said. “I have been getting plenty of on the job training as a teacher for the past four years, but I’m excited to learn and ask questions from experienced educators.”

Burgess applied for the master’s program in June, with hopes of enrolling in the fall 2016 semester and completing courses while teaching at the French immersion school Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orleans. She heard of the program through her husband who works in Monroe Library and as a Loyola instructor.

“It’ll be a balancing act going back to school,” Burgess said. “But I feel so passionately about my decision to do so. The fact that many of the courses are online is a huge bonus. It allows me to work when I can, which is often late at night after my child is asleep and my grading is all done.

“The courses that are in person are all scheduled so that those of us with full-time jobs can attend without missing work,” she adds. “It’s really beautiful how the program is set up to fit realistic schedules.”

Calzada stressed the importance of Loyola’s implementation of the graduate program.

“This program is deeply rooted in our mission as a Catholic, Jesuit institution in a way that extends to our community,” Calzada said. “We will be preparing high school teachers in grades 6-12 to go into the New Orleans community to prepare our future generations.”

On-campus classes and Loyola’s ability to supervise internships limit the applicant pool, but Calzada expects the MAT program to thrive.

“As the program grows and we have more students, we expect we will grow as needed,” Calzada said.