Four new master's degree programs in education - science, social studies, art and physical education - have been added to the School of Graduate Studies at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
According to Dr. William Bruce Ezell, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, the new programs are now enrolling graduate students for the summer session of 2000.
"This is an exciting addition to our graduate program," Dr. Ezell said. "They will add depth and dimension to our graduate programs."
UNCP already offers graduate education programs in school administration, school counseling, English, mathematics, reading, elementary and middle grades. Other master's degree programs include business administration (MBA), public administration (MPA) and service agency counseling.
"These are areas that, heretofore the university had not had a presence," Dr. Ezell said. "This is a logical step in our evolution toward being a Comprehensive I university."
UNCP will be the only university in Southeastern North Carolina to offer graduate degree programs in art and physical education.
"Because physical education and art education will have a unique status, we believe these programs will be very popular in the region," Dr. Ezell said. "Science and social studies are a natural fit for us because these departments are so strong and deep already."
"This definitely helps us serve Southeastern North Carolina by better preparing teachers in the fields of art, social studies, science and physical education," Dr. Ezell said.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors agreed, saying this is an important development for the university and the region it serves.
"These are important additions to our School of Graduate Studies and to our overall academic offerings," Chancellor Meadors said. "Having high quality and diverse graduate programs adds tremendously to the depth and scholarship of a university."
"It will add to our enrollment, of course, but it also brings the kind of students who will raise the bar for the entire university, and as teachers, they will raise the bar for the region's public schools," he said. "I'm very excited about this development for the university and for the region."
Dr. Ezell said the programs will offer flexible scheduling with evening and summer session classes. He envisions Internet and distance learning classes as well.
"Our clientele is usually a non-traditional student in their mid-30s and already in career mode," he said. "These are mature individuals seeking to improve themselves."
Admission to the UNCP School of Graduate Studies is required for all students, Dr. Ezell said. Qualified applicants will have a strong undergraduate record, three letters of recommendation and acceptable scores on either the Miller Analogy Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
Coordinating the programs will be, Dr. Tommy Thompson in physical education, Dr. Ann Klesener-Lopez in art, Drs. Peter Wish and Sue Bowden in science and Dr. Kathleen Hilton in social studies.
"We are delighted that we can meet the needs of teachers in this region," Dr. Hilton said. "We have a highly qualified faculty in all participating disciplines - American Indian Studies, economics, geography, history, political science and psychology - and we have a solid undergraduate social studies education program to build on."
Dr. Thompson sees more than one benefit to the new master's program in physical education at UNCP.
"We feel it will be a tremendous addition, not only to physical educators who want to get advanced degrees, but it will also help our coaching staff because they can now recruit graduate assistants for their respective sports," he said.
Paul Van Zandt, chair of the Art Department, said he believes the art program will be successful.
"For years, our art graduates in surrounding counties have been asking for a graduate program," he said. "This is a real positive for us, and I believe it will give a lift to our undergraduate programs as well."
Dr. Pete Wish said the Master's of Science Education program will be financially rewarding for its graduates.
"First, our science departments have a long history of turning out science teachers, and we believe there are a lot of biology, chemistry and earth science teachers who want to take their teaching careers to the next level," Dr. Wish said. "Our program will have two goals for teachers -- state and national certification. They get nice incremental salary increases for both."
For more information on any graduate program, please call the School of Graduate Studies at 910.521.6271.