Education - Page 3 - Career advancement

- Page 3
Career advancement
Graduate programs providing advanced training for professionals

By Linda L. Esterson, Contributing Writer

In today’s business climate, professionals continue to look for ways to advance in their careers. Some choose professional education through business associations while others turn to area universities for advanced degrees or certificate programs.

For many years, Loyola University Maryland has offered master’s degrees in teaching but a redesigned, intensified program opened a year ago to help students earn the degree more quickly in response to the area’s teacher shortage, according to Afra Hersi, Ph.D., associate professor and department chair of Loyola University’s Teacher Education Department.

The program is open to career changers and new bachelor’s degree graduates and consists of three intense semesters, beginning with summer enrollment, to allow for completion in one year. The master of arts in teaching prepares both elementary (grades 1-6) and secondary teachers (grades 7-12) to teach immediately following graduation. They begin by enrolling in four to five courses in the summer semester, and most are either fully face-to-face or hybrid, partly on campus and partly online. During the fall semester, students spend two days a week in schools, gaining exposure to the classroom experience prior to student teaching full-time in the spring.

Partnerships with school systems in Baltimore City and Baltimore County enable students to gain clinical experience at Lakeland Elementary Middle School in Baltimore and Overlea High School in the county.

“By the time they take over as the teacher of record at the end of their third semester, they know the school, have a relationship,” says Hersi. Loyola faculty members serve as professional development coordinators in the schools. Many students are ultimately hired by the schools that hosted their student teaching experiences.

According to Hersi, the program is open to teachers in all areas including English and history, and specifically recruits for science, technology, engineering and math teachers, particularly at the secondary level.

The program has a focus on equity education, providing students what they need to be engaged in learning.

“We need them prepared to serve the diverse and ever-changing classrooms in the region and provide every student a quality teacher,” she says. “It pushes them to think about their role as teachers and change agents to be the equity teachers we want them to be.”

The program aims to combat the high resignation rate for teachers, up to 40 percent within the first five years of employment. Set up as a  cohort experience with the same students continuing through the year together, the program creates a continuing peer connection and builds a sense of community for students. The guidance continues after they begin their teaching careers with Teachers Connect, an online community linking new teachers to experienced teachers to answer questions and provide collaboration.

Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business also offers an accelerated master’s in business administration program for early career professionals and recent graduates. The Emerging Leaders MBA (ELMBA) helps students hoping to fast-track into careers or transfer to an alternate career path, notes Kelly Fader, MBA, director of graduate cohort programs, including the executive MBA, ELMBA and master of accounting. Often, she says, students hold degrees in English, communications or liberal arts and choose to transition to the business world.

The 45-credit ELMBA provides experiential components in its program, including First Friday corporate site visits as part of its domestic and international field study requirements. These include a summer internship, a domestic trip experience prior to the start of the spring semester and an international tour in May. The experiences serve to simulate the work environment for students.

“It gives them experiential learning opportunities to see different businesses and different types of organizations,” Fader says. This year’s class visited Disney World for a customer management experience in January and Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in May.

The coursework includes such areas as core business statistics, global economics and accounting for decision making.

This year’s 21 students hail from undergraduate programs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and New York in addition to Maryland. The average student age is 24, Fader says.

The school also offers a 30-credit MBA in accounting, which is built around providing students with an accounting degree or the required prerequisite coursework with the 150 field hours needed to sit for the certified public accountant exam and achieve certification.

“It provides the opportunity for people to get through the process sooner into their careers before they are too busy to commit to the process,” Fader explains. Twenty-five students are currently enrolled in this program.

In some instances, schools create programs in response to community need. Such is the case at the University of Baltimore, where leaders have developed an undergraduate victim studies minor, a graduate track in victimology and a trauma-informed certificate, all designed to aid professionals working with victims of crime and trauma.

According to Debra L. Stanley, Ph.D., professor and executive director of the University of Baltimore School of Criminal Justice, the trauma-...

Advancement, continued on page 7