The educational specialist program is an advanced graduate program of study primarily developed to serve students who have acquired a master’s degree in education or a related area and have professional experience in the field. Its aim is to provide students an opportunity to focus specifically on practitioner-based inquiry about curriculum, policy, teaching, and learning to teach.
The educational specialist program is designed for educators and other practitioners who want opportunities for serious, engaging study and colleagueship in a university setting. Many graduates with this degree will serve as instructional leaders and/or as school-based teacher educators in their schools and districts. Graduates of the program will also be qualified to teach at community colleges or hold educational leadership positions in other capacities.
The educational specialist program is a specialized program of study tailored to the interests and needs of its students. The program has multiple goals, to develop educators who are deeply engaged with the challenges of teaching and learning in multiple contexts; interested in conducting research in classrooms and schools and other educational settings, and knowledgeable of the rewards and challenges that this work entails; prepared to work effectively as school-based teacher educators or in other capacities; committed to creating conversations that will improve the culture and practice of teaching and learning; and eager to write about and engage in educational practice for a broad audience and to develop requisite skills.
The faculty coordinator of the educational specialist program and the departmental admissions committee for advanced graduate programs review applications as they are completed and received. Applications are reviewed for indications that the applicant has a high probability of success in an advanced graduate program and a strong likelihood of making an important contribution to professional practice.
Indicators include records that suggest strong academic potential, evidence of professional experience in K-12 schools, and a statement of professional goals that match the goals of the program. Applicants to the educational specialist program must submit a formal university application with application fee and the abbreviated goal statement required by the university; two copies of each official transcript from all prior institutions attended; scores forwarded from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the past 5 years; a current vita or resume; a personal essay of one to two pages describing a compelling question, issue, or problem of practice in the area of curriculum, teaching, policy, or a subject area, and how one proposes to address this interest with focused, specialized study linked directly to practice; and three letters of recommendation from university faculty, school administrators, or district coordinators who can speak to the quality of one’s professional activities as well as to one’s academic potential in advanced graduate-level study.
Requirements for the Educational Specialist Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education
The educational specialist program requires 60 credits of course work in education or a related field or discipline beyond the baccalaureate. Generally, students enter the program with a master’s degree from an approved program. Students with a master’s degree will complete the educational specialist program with a minimum of 30 credits, including 6 credits of Teacher Education 995, which is a course designed to engage students in practitioner-based inquiry. Eighteen of these credits must be taken at the 900-level. All 30 credits, including electives, may be taken at the 900 level.
Students admitted to the program who do not have a master’s degree will be required to complete 60 credits of course work beyond the baccalaureate. The additional course requirements must be approved by the guidance committee. Students must complete the following:
- Course work planned with and approved by guidance committee (24)
- The following course:
TE 995 Research Practicum in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy (6)
Students are required to enroll in TE 995 during their last two semesters in the program, for three credits per semester. The practicum in intended to build on the course work and professional accomplishments of students by assisting them to develop, conduct, and write up an inquiry project, and to design key aspects of their portfolio, including the integrative narrative.
- Professional Portfolio. A professional portfolio is initiated at the beginning of the student’s enrollment and is maintained during the entire course of study. The portfolio documents a student’s goals, progress, and accomplishments in professional development, field-based inquiry projects, and collaborative initiatives with other educators. The portfolio includes an integrative narrative and the formal written report of the student’s inquiry project. The completed portfolio and integrative narrative are reviewed by the student’s guidance committee before the student takes the comprehensive examination.