SHELLIE BROWN (IMMEDIATELY BELOW), WHO TEACHES AT CEDAR BLUFF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, AND MEGAN HARDISON (BELOW BROWN), WHO TEACHES AT TAZEWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, WILL BE AMONG THE FIRST FOUR GRADUATES EVER TO RECEIVE A MASTER’S DEGREE FROM BLUEFIELD COLLEGE DURING SPRING COMMENCEMENT, MAY 9, 2015.
The college launched its inaugural master’s degree program, an online master of arts in education (MAEd) curriculum, in the fall of 2013 for licensed teachers to improve their practice, achieve career goals, and increase earning power while still working full time in the classroom.
“As a graduate of Bluefield College, I could not be more thrilled that the master’s degree program is now officially established,” said Dr. Donna Hardy Watson, dean of the School of Education, who created the MAEd curriculum. “Working with practicing teachers in this program to use their classroom experiences as the basis for analysis and research has provided rich opportunities for reflection and implementation.”
The historic first students in the master’s program – Shellie Brown of Pounding Mill, Virginia; Megan Hardison of Bluefield, Virginia; Crystal Ramos-McCall of Pembroke Virginia; and Kalyn Dolan of Lynchburg, Virginia – will graduate on May 9, 2015, and the leadership skills they have developed during their studies, added Dr. Watson, along with their increased ability to conduct and use research in education will greatly benefit not just them, but their schools and communities.
“It has been an honor to be a part of the educational journey with these first graduates who have shown insight and passion in their research based on classroom needs,” said Dr. Watson, who became director of the school’s Teacher Education Program in 2006. “Truly they are school leaders and educational innovators who have set a high standard for future classes of graduate students.”
One of the final requirements for the graduate students to achieve their degree is to conduct original research and present their findings focusing on student learning and achievement. In fact, the four students will present their action research projects on Friday, April 24, 2015 at Bluefield College.
While not open to the public because of the research component, members of an invited panel will be on hand to rate the presentations and to provide feedback, including school superintendents from Virginia and West Virginia; trustees of Bluefield College; and regional school principals. The ratings provided by the panel members will not only be used by the students, but also by administrators in the School of Education for program development. The presentations will be followed by a celebratory luncheon.
Founded in 1977 by Dr. Gerald Clay, who directed the program until his retirement in 2006, the Bluefield College Teacher Education program in the School of Education is nationally accredited through the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) under the umbrella of the Council of Accreditation in Educator Preparation (CAEP). Joining Dr. Watson as fellow Bluefield College alumni who teach in the master of arts in education program are Dr. Thomas Brewster, Dr. Danielle Anderson Lusk, and Dr. Eric Workman.