By Tim Leeds
After recommendations for program review at Montana State University-Northern was approved last week, the education program at the university is still strong and looking at new options.
Dr. Korinne Tande, dean and chair of the education program at the university, said she has received several calls and e-mails from people concerned about the loss of the master of education degree at the department. Tande said that the masters program is still available after the review.
The only change in the program is the elimination of one option, the master of education in vocational education. While this program will be eliminated, Tande said, a program to replace it will be proposed to the regents.
"Yes, the program has been eliminated, but we're proposing a new program that will better meet the needs of high schools and middle schools in the state," Tande said.
She said the new program will result in certification that better meets needs of grades 5-12 schools industrial arts programs. The proposed changes include a include a bachelor of secondary education with an option in applied technology. Tande said there are already similar programs at Montana State University-Bozeman and at the Western Montana College of the University of Montana.
Dr. Roger Barber, provost and vice-chancellor for academic affairs at MSU-Northern, said they intend the curriculum for the program at MSU-Northern to be more encompassing than the programs at the other campuses. He said the existing programs tend to be more theoretical at one and more applied learning at the other, and MSU-Northern's will cover more of each area.
Tande said the new program will be set to national standards based on the needs of middle schools and high schools.
Tande said there has been reason to look at the status of the masters in vocational education as enrollment dwindled.
"I think the program used to really meet the needs in the state," she said. "The low enrollment is telling us it doesn't really meet them any more."
She said there will be a smooth transition between the two programs. "We're going to get everybody into the program they really want and need," she said.
Tande said a master of science in adult learning and training will be proposed to replace masters of education with an option in vocational education. She said they are trying to expand the attraction of graduates of the program to a broader audience. The new option will appeal to businesses to hire graduates as well as the education system to hire them, she said.
She said while the loss of many programs was difficult, the department continues to move forward.
"They (the eliminated programs) are near and dear to my heart," she said. "I hate losing the math minor, but it's just reflecting what's going on in the nation; there's a shortage of people going into math majors."
Tande said the program review will allow and require modifying some of the education programs so they will still reflect the standards of grade 5-12 schools in the state, but won't detract from the quality of the education program as a whole.