UST Offers Off-Campus MEd in Cy-Fair, Aldine
When educators in the Cypress-Fairbanks and Aldine areas learned they could earn a Master in Education degree from the University of St. Thomas without the drive into town, they applied in record numbers.
UST’s School of Education has introduced a new Off-Campus Master’s Program for the first time in spring 2010. In January, 11 cohort groups of 181 students began Master of Education (MEd) courses at two locations in the Cypress-Fairbanks area. This marks a significant increase to traditional on-campus MEd enrollment.
Courses are conveniently located for Cy-Fair and Aldine educators, held in some of the very schools where some cohort members work. The Cypress-Fairbanks program is held in Cy-Falls High School, 9811 Huffmeister Road. The Aldine classes are held at McArthur High School, 4400 Aldine Mail Road.
“This program gives the University of St. Thomas more exposure and a stronger presence in the growing suburban areas of Houston,” LeBlanc said. “Cy-Fair educators who work full-time would have to commute for over an hour in rush-hour traffic to attend on-campus UST evening classes. This program makes a St. Thomas education convenient for those students who are interested in obtaining a private university education in their own community.”
The Off-Campus MEd Program offers six different master’s degree concentrations including educational leadership, diagnostician, reading, bilingual/dual language, exceptionality/special education and curriculum and instruction.
Students commit to attend class one night per week and finish the program in about two years. Each cohort’s classes are scheduled the same night of the week for the duration of the program. Compressed track classes are held for seven weeks each, enabling students to take two classes per semester, one class at a time.
“This is exactly the same master’s degree program that any student would complete on campus, but we have taken it to a different geographic location and offer the classes in a compressed track format,” LeBlanc said. “I think the program has become successful from the onset because we offer a quality, private, liberal arts graduate program at a convenient location. Students appreciate the predictable night for class, because they can build a consistent time commitment into their daily life.
“Balancing busy schedules, full-time jobs and family commitments, teachers expressed a preference for taking one course at a time,” said LeBlanc. “With compressed track classes, students only deal with one syllabus at a time, and do not have overlapping midterms and projects.”
Rona Jackson is a special needs teacher for kindergarten through fourth-grade at Carmichael Elementary School in Aldine ISD. She is a member of one of the Aldine Educational Leadership cohorts.
“I enrolled in the program for career advancement and to fulfill my leadership potential as an educator,” Jackson said.
Amy Casey, a sixth-grade teacher at Aragon Middle School in Cy-Fair ISD, is part of one of the Cy-Fair Educational Leadership cohorts. She was attracted to the convenience of the program, as well as the exemption from taking the GRE.
“I considered MEd programs from other universities, but this program came to me, and carried the name recognition of a major university people know and respect,” Casey said. “My class is less than 10 minutes away from my school, and the tuition was manageable for me without taking out loans. I only have class on Tuesday nights, and I have the rest of the week to spread out my class assignments.”
The University is currently exploring additional sites around the Houston area for future off-campus programs. For more information contact Dr. Robert LeBlanc at 713-525-3548 or visit www.stthom.edu/education