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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU will offer Master of Arts in Teaching Science

Hoping to increase science knowledge and training for teachers, New Mexico State University will offer a Master of Arts in Teaching Science with classes beginning this fall.

combination of online courses, intensive laboratory courses and other mediums to reach teachers across New Mexico, the Master of Arts in Teaching Science degree is designed to improve the teaching of science at the elementary through middle school level.

"Many teachers at the K-8 level have very limited training in the sciences, which makes it hard for them to teach science effectively," said Daniel Howard, head of the NMSU biology department. "The Master of Arts in Teaching Science encourages teachers to enhance their training, allowing students to succeed at higher rates."

Susan Brown, co-chair of the Master of Arts in Teaching Science committee, said it is imperative to increase the content knowledge of teachers in our state and beyond.

"Quality teaching translates into quality learning by the students," Brown said. "Research has shown over and over that teachers with more hours in a subject are able to design lessons and teach much better."

Although a Masters of Arts in Teaching has been available at NMSU for some time, the Master of Arts in Teaching Science, a collaborative degree between the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, will allow practicing teachers to become "highly qualified" as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.

"We were recognizing as a university that practicing teachers did not have access to the kind of course work necessary for continuing their education in the sciences," said Michael Morehead, associate dean of the NMSU College of Education.

Morehead said the university had to do two things to produce the Master of Arts in Teaching Sciences program - develop the appropriate academic coursework and make the classes available at a time when practicing teachers could take them.

"The courses are designed for kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers," said Nancy McMillan, NMSU professor of geology and one of the program developers. "There will be courses in geology, physics, biology, chemistry and astronomy."

McMillan said the degree reflects a new creative direction for NMSU as it strives to meet the needs of New Mexicans.

"This programs stands out because it is unusual that faculty from so many departments have come together to plan a program," Brown said.

For more information, contact Brown at (505) 646-1397; susanbro@nmsu.edu or McMillan at (505) 646-5000; nmcmilla@nmsu.edu.

Bianca L. Granado
May 8, 2006