"Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights."
–Pauline R. Kezer
I have been thinking a lot lately about change. The quote above pretty much sums up my feelings about change. Our world is changing, our profession is changing, and we are all changing in one way or another. Sometimes we choose to do things differently; sometimes change is forced upon us. But there is one thing that is true, and that is that change does happen. How we deal with that change is what helps us to grow or resist change and stagnate. This leads me to another quote:
"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it."
There are changes taking place within the MEDT program. We are now a part of the St. Ambrose School of Education. Rather than have separate education programs–graduate and undergraduate–we are all now a part of a unified School of Education led by our new director, Dr. Thomas Carpenter, who begins his work with St. Ambrose on July 1. We look forward to working with him. Our current director, Dr. Judith White, is retiring, and we wish her well.
Another change is in our curriculum. Our research course is now taught by Joyce Schoemaker. We have refocused this course with an emphasis on action research. Teachers in the program now develop a question, review literature, collect data from their individual classrooms, and report their findings. They also then develop a plan for "future research." Several students have been asked by their principals to present their work to their entire staff. We are very proud of the work they have accomplished.
A third change will come next summer. We are working to replace the vision course with a course on teacher leadership. The paradigm for the 21st Century schools is that administrators can't go it alone. They need teachers to be leaders in the work to improve student achievement. Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa and many other educational policy makers have recently stated this is one of their objectives for school improvement. In the future, teachers will no longer have to leave the classroom to become leaders and will be able to enhance their professional growth while continuing as teachers. We want to do everything we can to help them develop the leadership skills that will be needed.
A fourth change is that we have a new administrative assistant, Ms. Jana Seutter. She has taken over for Ms. Susan Jameson who has become the administrative assistant for Dr. Paul Koch. Jana has stepped in and done a great job for us. We are so glad to have her as a part of our team.
A final change that our program has undergone is that we have become a distance education program. During the school year (August - May) classes are held online via Elluminate. Students can take the class from any computer with internet connection. We meet at the same time, discuss, make presentations, watch videos - pretty much everything you would do in a face-to-face class. But it's the convenience of not having to drive somewhere to attend class. In the summer, students still come to campus for their coursework. So we have the "best of both worlds" in the Master of Education in Teaching Program.
While change is inevitable, it can be a good thing. We believe the changes in our program are good. We feel these changes are the branches that are letting us grow and reach new heights.
Maggie Woods, NBCT
Director, Master of Education in Teaching