The biggest news at Georgetown College currently might be on the Graduate Education front with the introduction this summer of a Teacher Leader Master of Arts Program, A Rank I with Moderate to Severe Disabilities Program, and an Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate Program.

The department is expecting considerable interest in these new offerings – much like it did in 2003 when the Learning Behavior Disabilities Program and Alternative Certification Program were added and enrollment for that fall semester jumped by 200 students. Overall Graduate Education enrollment has steadily increased each year – with more than 750 students expected for Fall 2010. To handle this growth, the department now boasts 20 full or part-time professors.

Dr. Kim Walters-Parker, program director of the Teacher Leader MA Program, agreed there would be huge interest in her new program and here’s why: “A key goal of the new Teacher Leader Master of Arts program is to ensure that all classroom teachers have the skills and dispositions to address students’ learning needs in their classrooms, their schools, and their communities. All TLMA students complete a core of leadership courses and choose support courses based on their professional growth needs. TLMA students may also pursue an endorsement in English as a Second Language, Reading and Writing, Gifted and Talented, or Instructional Technology.”

An assistant professor of Graduate Education, Walters-Parker said TLMA would especially appeal to two audiences – “one, students who were getting a Masters already but chose ours because of the way it was tailored or delivered – for example, much of the coursework may be completed online – and, two, teachers who already have a Masters degree, but want to pursue a second Masters to qualify for Rank 1 status.”

The Education Department has official partnership agreements with the school systems in Fayette and Scott counties, specifically to assist with our new MA-Teacher Leader program.

Dean of Education Eve Proffitt, who oversees the other two new programs, cited projections that in the next 10 years 1 in 100 children will be labeled with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “The Autism Spectrum Disorder will appeal to teachers as more and more teachers are experiencing students in their classrooms with ASD, including Aspergers Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder,” she said. “Therefore, these classes will provide much needed information on how to prepare and work with these students and their families.”

“Rank I with Moderate to Severe Disabilities is a field that requires knowledge in how to provide core curriculum to students who have moderate to severe disabilities. These children are in the mainstream regular classroom, so it will assist teachers in knowing how to provide for them,” Dr. Proffitt said.

Proffitt added that teachers with LBD background will find this certificate program will qualify them for all areas of disabilities and serving all disability areas.