An innovative B.A./M.A. English Adolescence Education program that builds on core strengths of a longstanding undergraduate teacher preparation program – and reduces the number of years needed to earn a graduate degree and become eligible for professional certification – has been launched at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
Instead of committing four years to earn a bachelor’s degree and another two years for a master’s, students enrolled in Fredonia’s newest multi-award program will be on track to receive both degrees at the end of their fifth year. That eliminates tuition charges and other expenses incurred in the second year of a traditional master’s program.
Dr. Bruce Simon, who serves as chair of the Department of English, believes the new multi-award program stands out among schools with teacher preparation programs. “We started from the ground up, extending our successful English Adolescence Education program to five years instead of compressing a six-year (B.A./M.A.) program into five years,” he explained. “That’s what makes our program unique.”
The multi-award curriculum consists of English courses that deliver a solid background in content as well as numerous pedagogy courses focused on the teaching of English at the secondary level. Since the program is housed in the Department of English, courses will be taught by existing English education and English faculty.
“This new program builds on the strength of our undergraduate English Adolescence Education program and allows the student to seamlessly integrate both undergraduate and graduate courses over five years,” Dr. Simon explained. It has been approved by SUNY System Administration and the state Department of Education.
“I think what makes this even more impactful is that teachers in New York eventually need to obtain master’s degrees,” said Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Andy Karafa. “This provides one-stop shopping, so to speak, and gets them there in five years.”
Additionally, New York state certification is recognized around the country, making the multi-award program a great option for in-state as well as out-of-state students, Dr. Karafa added.
Both course content and pedagogy – learning how to teach – will be emphasized throughout all five years, noted Dr. Ann Siegle Drege, who serves as English Education coordinator. That feature, she said, distinguishes the Fredonia multi-award degree from English education programs elsewhere. Its well-rounded focus on literature, writing and language meets professional guidelines set by the National Council of Teachers of English.
Another strength is placing students in clinical practice settings throughout the program, which culminates with the student-teaching experience that serves as the capstone course at the graduate level. Students attend graduate-level English and English education courses in the fourth and fifth years, but pay tuition at the less expensive undergraduate rate for graduate courses during the fourth year.
The course sequence in the first three years mirrors Fredonia’s existing B.A. program in English Adolescence Education, so students can enter the multi-award program anytime during their first three years of study.
“We are building a graduate program that will have a robust cohort of students, so they will have a sense of community going through the program together, learning from their peers and developing together over five years,” Simon said.
Most juniors currently enrolled in the existing English Adolescence Education program have already expressed a strong interest in the multi-award program, which will be offered beginning in the fall 2020 semester. The traditional four-year degree in English Adolescence Education will continue to be offered.
“We see the multi-award program working in tandem with our existing B.A., offering students a range of options,” Dr. Drege said. “We anticipate that many will choose to continue at Fredonia with the fifth year.”
The English Adolescence Education B.A./M.A. program becomes Fredonia’s fourth accelerated degree, joining multi-award programs in Biology, Music Education and Childhood Inclusive Education and Literacy B-12. A multi-award program in science education is also being developed.