Georgetown will launch the new Master of Arts in Educational Transformation and the Master of Arts in Learning and Design graduate programs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in summer of 2017.
The programs, which have already begun accepting applications, will be one to two years long, depending on the concentration. Learning will take place both within traditional classroom settings and through intensive fieldwork.
The Master of Arts in Educational Transformation will feature two concentrations, one based on learning and teaching, the other on advocacy and policy, according to Program Director Douglass Reed.
“We felt like there was a real need for graduate education, both to train teachers and policy analysts and advocates,” Reed said. “The strengths of having both programs in place at the same time was really powerful.”
Students concentrating on learning and teaching will serve as teaching aides in schools within the Washington, D.C. area during the first year before teaching courses themselves and earning their teacher’s license in the second year.
Students concentrating on advocacy and policy, meanwhile, will be placed in a nonprofit or advocacy agency at the local or federal level and assist decision makers on various policy issue.
Reed believes that the program capitalizes on Georgetown’s previous work with local education in order to generate a substantial impact.
“Georgetown has done a lot of work on education for a long time, both in the Center for Social Justice and community-based learning,” Reed said. “We’re trying to capture that student enthusiasm and student experience, and act as a lever for change in the educational context in D.C.”
Reed said the program’s success would depend on the construction of a network of alumni that can pass on knowledge to those interested in education.
“It’ll be a success when we can say four or five years out that we have trained a cohort of educators and advocates who have made a difference and who have been able to give children experiences of amazing teaching or advocating on their behalf,” Reed said.
The Master of Arts in Learning and Design degree, meanwhile, will focus on the changing landscape of higher education. It will offer concentrations in learning design, technology innovation, learning analytics and higher education leadership.
Students will select a concentration in the first year and explore it in-depth during their second year. Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship Executive Director Edward Maloney, who will direct the program, highlighted the program’s uniqueness.
“It’s the first program of its kind at Georgetown, and I think the first program of its kind in the country, maybe the world, that has started out of a center like ours,” Maloney said. “It’s a degree program that is not out of a traditional academic department.”
Maloney said that the program addresses recent discussions over the future of higher education. He noted that students have the opportunity to define the future of teaching and learning at colleges.
“A lot of what’s happening with technology and enhanced learning and teaching is changing how we think about how we develop courses, how we think about technology, how we think about the impact on students,” Maloney said. “That’s really been coming to a head over the past three years.”
Sheila McMullan, vice dean of the Georgetown Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said that the ideas for these programs stemmed from faculty members and had been in development for years.
“We help them at the graduate school pull together as many faculty who are also interested in that subject area to try to define what a program would look like, and what kind of courses students need to be versed in this particular discipline,” McMullan said. “That’s how it percolates, it starts with the faculty.”
McMullan believes that both programs will be successful due to the amount of time and effort Reed, Maloney and those assisting them have put in.
“I think that they will be very successful, but with any program you need to work hard at it to make sure it is successful,” McMullan said. “It’s quite a bit of responsibility on the faculty to make it all work. But I think from the curriculum that they’ve created that they’re on the right track.”