Delaware Valley College adds new programs for educators

Oct 17, 2011

In the latest expansion of its academic offerings, Delaware Valley College has launched two new programs: A master’s degree in teaching and learning and a supervisor of special education certification.

The target date for the first classes to begin is Jan. 3. The college is currently accepting applications for the new programs.

“In analyzing our strategic plan and looking toward the future of DVC, the Graduate Programs in Education office conducted a needs assessment of local educators in 2010,” said Dr. Bashar Hanna, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty. “Based on that data and the vision for the college, a decision was reached to develop and implement these two new graduate programs. The research data also indicated that these two programs were of high interest to local educators. The data further indicated that these programs were not being offered by competing graduate programs.”

The new master’s degree is designed for both Pennsylvania and New Jersey teachers who are going to remain in the classroom and are seeking to enhance their skills.

“With its dual focus on educational research and practical application in the field of instruction, the Teaching and Learning master’s degree will allow educators to acquire the essential skills needed to plan and perform their teaching duties so as to reach all levels of learners while demonstrating the essential pedagogical skills needed to serve as model educators within their school districts,” Dr. Hanna said.

The supervisor of special education certification program is designed specifically for Pennsylvania special education teachers who wish to move up to positions supervising special education programs.

“The goal of this program,” Dr. Hanna said, “is to provide teachers with the experiences and skills necessary to become a supervisor of special education in the state of Pennsylvania. 

The new master’s program was approved over the summer and the special education certificate program was approved in September.

“The need was out there in the educational field to fill these kind of roles,” said DelVal Director of Graduate Programs in Education Dr. James Moryan. “Teachers are expected, and I think they look, to enhance their own content knowledge and pedagogical skills and districts look for advanced degrees in their educators.”

The programs are also part of the college’s move toward university status, which will enhance the programs offered in a number of departments

“The graduate program in education is looking to be part of the strategic plan for the college,” said Dr. Moryan. “This is a step in the direction of expanding the programs that we offer in order to help meet the requirements from the Pennsylvania Department of Education with regard to university status down the line.”

The master’s degree in teaching and learning includes 11 three-credit courses and takes about two years to complete.

Courses include: Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum, School Law, Teaching and Supervising Diverse Student Populations, Differentiating Instruction, Introduction to Statistical Data and Research, Learning as a Process, Foundations of Instructional Technology for Teaching and Learning, Principles, Methods, Development, and Assessment of Curriculum, Educational Trends and Development, and Action Research I and II.

In the action research course, an important component, teachers enrolled in the program will work with DelVal instructors on a research project of their choice.

For example, content specific teachers at the secondary level may do an action research project about how certain students are doing on particular skills in their classrooms. If students haven’t performed well on particular math skills, a teacher might choose to do a research project about how they’re teaching these skills or what elements students are or aren’t getting. The teacher might use pre and post testing on the same skills to see how much students have gained, graph the data, and make adjustments based on research.

The special education certification program includes five required three-credit courses followed by fieldwork.

Dr. Moryan said teachers who enroll in the program should be able to complete the program in as little as a year and a half.

Courses include: Teaching and Supervising Diverse Student Populations, Leadership and Management of Special Education Programs, Instructional Leadership and Supervision, Design, Development and Assessment of Instruction, Special Education Law, and Advanced Fieldwork.

The advanced fieldwork is similar to the action research. A student would find a mentor in his or her school district, pick a special education project to focus on and do a research project to enhance an existing program or develop a new program. Research might focus on a variety of administrative duties such as Individualized Education Plan development, scheduling or parental communication and contact.

Dr. Moryan said the college is anticipating a combination of both online and in-person courses will be offered for the master’s program. The special education certification program will be offered either in cohort format or on DelVal’s Doylestown campus.

Dr. Moryan said for districts with seven special education certification program students, DelVal would be happy to offer on-site courses. Discounted tuition rates may be available for cohorts.

Council Rock and Central Bucks cohorts have been established.

For more information or to apply for either of the programs: contact Ms. Pamela Heffner at 215-489-4469 or or call 215- 439-4833.