Winthrop Trustees Approve Two Graduate Education Programs

April 18, 2018

Quick Facts

bullet point The programs will be offered beginning in fall 2019.
bullet point Both programs were approved by the Board of Trustees at the April meeting.

Jennie Rakestraw

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA Winthrop University will expand its graduate program offerings in the Richard W. Riley College of Education by adding two Master of Education degrees in learning design and technology, and another in teacher leadership.

Both were approved by the Board of Trustees at the April 6 quarterly meeting.

Jennie F. Rakestraw, dean of Winthrop's Richard W. Riley College of Education, said the two degrees will enhance the opportunities for teachers in this region to specialize in key areas, and the programs will be offered beginning in 2019. Although Winthrop has long offered a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, it was time to update the program in order to address the current and future needs of the educators in South Carolina, which led to the development of these new programs. To increase accessibility to working adults, much of the coursework will be offered online.

The M.Ed. in teacher leadership program was designed and developed as a unique collaboration between faculty in the College of Education and teachers and administrators in Winthrop's partner school districts. The proposed program meets a critical need in schools by providing advanced study in leadership skills for teachers who do not wish to become school administrators. This degree provides the opportunities for teachers' professional advancement by allowing them to earn at least two of the add-on endorsements, including teacher leader as well as either gifted and talented or project-based learning.

The purpose of the M.Ed. in teacher leadership program is to meet the advanced educational needs of teachers who work in diverse educational settings. Graduates of the program will acquire a level of cultural competence needed to effectively serve the increasingly diverse student populations enrolled in schools. Therefore, teachers will acquire the knowledge base and skills needed in the areas of curriculum development, assessment, pedagogy and leadership so they can affect high-impact teaching and learning in their classrooms to positively influence change in their schools.

The Master of Education in learning design and technology, meets a critical need in the region, Rakestraw noted. She added that it will serve those in K-12 districts and schools, as well as those working in corporate, health care, government, military, nonprofit and higher education environments. For K-12 educators, this program will qualify them for the state's online teaching endorsement. For those not in K-12, educators will earn the skills and credentials required to work in a variety of educational technology and training and development jobs including instructional design, instructional development, online learning design, training and development specialist, curriculum manager and project manager, Rakestraw added.

The M.Ed. in learning design and technology will emphasize the study and application of learning theory and technology skills that can be applied to learning problems in a wide range of settings. Students will learn advanced analysis skills, instructional design skills, media development skills, management skills, evaluation skills, and the skills needed to stay current in a quickly evolving landscape of learning and technology. Students will learn to apply these skills through a hands on, project-based learning curriculum that will combine the flexibility of online classes with limited, but crucial, on campus meetings.

In other action at the April 6 Board of Trustees meeting, members approved a policy to preserve, protect, maintain and enhance the President's House. Trustees approved written policies to establish guidelines for the maintenance and improvement of the house, while promoting a system of oversight, efficiency and financial transparency. The Board of Trustees shall assume primary responsibility for the ongoing care and maintenance of the house.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at or 803/323-2404.

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