Baylor School of Education has launched a new school-wide master’s program, offering initial teacher certification. The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is modeled on Baylor's award-winning teacher-education program and offers faculty-guided classroom teaching experiences that exceed those offered in most alternative certification programs.
Baylor senior Jonathan Gay, a religion major with an English minor, is the first to enroll in the MAT and said he chose it because of the intense preparation he will receive.
"The coursework is very comprehensive with pedagogy and content-specific courses," he said, noting that other programs do not offer courses like "Issues in Diversity." He is taking one of the graduate courses this semester while still an undergraduate, along with summer classes, and said he will feel fully prepared for half-day teaching of small groups in the fall and then for an internship of full-day teaching next spring.
Gay chose to maintain his major in religion and pursue teaching through a graduate program, because it allows him to "make the most of the content areas that Baylor has, while still being prepared to stand in front of a classroom."
The MAT is also ideal for Baylor students or transfers who decide to pursue an education degree so late that it will extend their time as an undergraduate. Through the MAT option, such students may be able to finish both their undergraduate degree and the advanced degree within the timeframe that would have been required to switch their degree to a BSEd.
Baylor undergraduates may pursue the MAT as a joint degree program, with Baylor seniors taking up to 15 hours of graduate-level work as part of their undergraduate degree program, if approved by their home department. Upon completion of the MAT, students will receive the bachelor's degree and MAT simultaneously. If taking full advantage of the option, students could graduate within 12 months of their originally scheduled baccalaureate graduation.
The MAT is also available to graduates of Baylor and other universities as a stand-alone post-baccalaureate master's program offering initial teacher certification.
MAT program director Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, associate dean and associate professor, said the MAT is designed to give students intense classroom preparation. "We know that teachers from alternative programs often don't stay in the profession as long, possibly because of the lack of skills in areas such as classroom management," she said. "The Baylor MAT will fully prepare graduates, and their first day on the job as a teacher will not be their first day in front of a full classroom."