THE CNU MASTER OF ARTS IN TEACHING/ LICENSURE PROGRAM
PROGRESS REPORT, MAY 2004
In October 2003, the education department was eliminated at Christopher Newport
University as part of an effort to deal with severe budget cuts. This terminated all CNU
programs that licensed teachers.
However, the Newport News School Board passed a resolution requesting that CNU
continue offering licensure programs to serve a high need in the area for licensed
teachers. In response, a CNU faculty committee, aided by Newport News School
Personnel and CNU student representatives, created a plan for a five-year MAT with
licensure program. In this program design, CNU students may earn a bachelor’s degree, a
master’s degree, and a license to teach in the state of Virginia. The graduate degree is a
Master of Arts in Teaching; the various tracks are designated by the endorsement area of
the license to be earned. These tracks include:
Elementary (Grades PK-6)
Computer Science (6-12)
History and Social Science (6-12)
Music (Choral and Instrumental) (PK-12)
All five year programs consist of 120 hours taken at the undergraduate level, with a major
in a liberal arts or science. 36 graduate hours are required, some (8-9) of which are taken
during the senior year of study, within the 120 hours. In addition, a number of
undergraduate requirements are attached to each program in order to earn licensure
through the state.
For students who come to CNU already holding a degree in the liberal arts or its
equivalent, a master’s only program is provided which includes the 36 graduate hours as
well as designated undergraduate prerequisite courses. A licensure only program, with
fewer hours, is also included for already degreed students with appropriate background.
All documents related to program approval were submitted to the Department of
Education in April, 2003. On August 6, 2003, the state approved the implementation of
the program as a two- year pilot program.
ACTIVITIES, YEAR ONE
After approval of the program, the following activities were accomplished.
A. Implementing the administrative structure.
The Teacher Preparation Program at CNU is administered by an interdisciplinary
Teacher Preparation Council. This body is supported and budgeted through the Office
of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. A physical location (Ratcliffe 122-125) has
been established for the purpose of advising students and maintaining records. A
director, Dr. Marsha Sprague, Ed. D., associate professor of English, was appointed to
direct the program.
The Teacher Preparation Council acts in matters of –
Implementing the new Teacher Preparation Program (TPP)
Admitting students to the TPP
Ongoing oversight and evaluation of the TPP, including curriculum,
faculty and field experiences
Reporting to internal and external age ncies, including mandated state reports
Reviewing and approving changes to program
Recruiting and advising for program
Seeking additional funding to support the program (grants)
Awarding and overseeing graduate scholarships
Members of the Teacher Preparation Council, 2003-2004
Director, Teacher Preparation Dr. Marsha Sprague, Ed. D.
Supervisor of Field Experiences Mr. Gil Crippen
Newport News Schools representatives: Mr. Robert Johnson, Director of Secondary
Education; Ms. Susan Piland, Director of
Department representatives serving three year terms have been appointed by the dean of
the college of liberal arts:
-Art, Dr. David Alexick
-Biology, Dr. Rick Cheney
-English, Dr. Roark Mulligan
-History, Dr. Tim Morgan
-Mathematics, Dr. Stavroula Gailey
- Music, Dr. Lauren Fowler
-Physics & Computer Science, Dr. David Hibler
-Psychology, Dr. Kelly Cartwright
-Sociology, Prof. Lea Pellett
-Spanish/ French, Dr. Danielle Cahill
-Theater Arts, Prof. Denise Hillman
- SVEA (Students of the Virginia Education Association), Michelle Andre
- MENC (National Association of Music Educators), Amy Johnson
- SVATE (Students of the Virginia Association for the Teaching of English),
Ex Oficio, Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Dorothy Doolittle
Ex Oficio, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dr. Douglas Gordon
The entire Teacher Preparation Council met in September and in January. In addition,
a steering committee was selected to carry out the mission of the Teacher Preparation
Council throughout that school year. The steering committee consists of the following:
Director of Teacher Preparation M. Sprague
Supervisor of Field Experiences G. Crippen
Newport News School Staff Representatives R.Johnson and S. Piland
SVEA student representative M. Andre
Three faculty members: R. Mulligan, R. Gailey, T. Morgan
The role of the NNPS representatives has been defined as follows:
*To act as a liason to NNPS, funneling information and understanding about the program
to schools and staff
*To express the context of the school division tha t students will enter, and the needs of
*To give feedback and evaluation of CNU students in the NNPS system—field
experiences and new hires
*To advertise and promote reciprocal opportunities for students and faculty members of
CNU and NNPS to engage in learning ventures (ie training sessions, research
opportunities, grant funding, contests, etc.)
The steering committee has met once a month throughout the year to discuss
programmatic issues and to admit students to the program.
B. Creating advising materials. The director of the program prepared advising sheets for
all endorsement tracks, and TPC members reviewed and approved all materials.
Advisors for each content area were identified. Standard advising times were set for
students at the Teacher Preparation Office, and sign up sheets have been posted at the
Office of Teacher Preparation so any students interested in being advised can sign up
C. Advertising the program. Flyers were created to advertise the program. These flyers
were distributed in a number of venues: through CNU departments; at a NNPS job
fair in January 2004; at CNU graduate school fairs; at CNU Open Houses held in
October, November, February, and March; at special meetings held on campus for
freshmen and sophomores in February 2004. A complete description of all programs,
including prerequisites and admission requirements, was incorporated into a website:
www.cnu.edu/mat. Students calling CNU from outside the campus are directed to the
website, which then allows them to proceed to admission application or to contact the
Director for more information. There have been approximately 20 inquiries per
month through the website.
D. Establishing and offering courses in the program. Faculty were identified to teach
appropriate prerequisite and graduate courses. Those course offerings were taught in
fall 2003 and spring 2004. Graduate courses in English and History were offered in
spring 2004. Professional courses and content area graduate courses have been
scheduled for summer and fall 2004. Those can be found on the “Schedule of
Classes” at the CNU home page, www.cnu.edu.
E. Accepting applications to the program. The first applications for program entrance
were received in November, 2003. The steering committee developed a procedure for
review of applications and began reviewing applications that month. The procedure
for admission includes:
1. Student meets with Director of program for initial advising and is given
applicatio n packet, which includes application form, three letters of
recommendation, essay requirement, and PRAXIS I results
2. Student submits packet to Graduate Admissions Officer who reviews for accuracy
3. Packet comes to Admissions Committee (steering committee)
4. Three members of the Committee review each packet, noting in writing whether
student meets criteria for the applied program
5. Decision is made and transmitted to Admissions Office
6. Admissions Office notifies student
Five year program-- at least 65 earned credits; GPA 3.0; passing scores on PRAXIS I;
three letters of recommendation; acceptable written essay.
MAT with licensure program—earned bachelor’s degree in appropriate liberal arts field
or equivalent; GPA 3.0; passing scores on PRAXIS I; three letters of recommendation;
acceptable written essay.
Licensure only program-- earned bachelor’s degree in appropriate liberal arts field or
equivalent; GPA 2.7; passing scores on PRAXIS I; three letters of recommendation;
acceptable written essay.
ADMITTED STUDENTS TO DATE
As of May 24, 2004, a total of 61 students have been accepted into the new graduate
Teacher Preparation Program at CNU. 22 students have been accepted into the 5 year
MAT program, 28 into the MAT with Licensure program, and 11 into the Licensure Only
program. Of those accepted, 31 are current CNU students, while 30 represent candidates
who already have bachelor’s degrees or are completing them at another university this
spring. The average GPA is 3.28 and the average PRAXIS I score is 542 (the state
requirement for the PRAXIS I is 542).
Of the 61 admitted students, 38 are seeking elementary licensure (PK-6); 18 are seeking a
6-12 endorsement; and five are seeking the K-12 endorsement. The breakdown for
subject areas (6-12 or K-12) is as follows: 8 History/Social Studies; 5 English; 3
Biology; 2 Mathematics; 2 Music; 2 Art; and 1 Spanish.
It is anticipated that 20 of these 61 accepted students will apply to student teach in spring
05. All of them will be placed in Newport News classrooms.
PARTNERSHIP ACTIVITIES WITH NEWPORT NEWS SCHOOLS
A number of partnership activities with Newport News schools have been implemented
this year. They include-
Observation. The course Education, Culture and Society requires 30 hours of
observation in public schools. Five elementary schools and three middle and high
schools have volunteered to serve as observation sites, and 32 students were observers at
these sites during the spring term.
Tutoring. The course Educational Psychology requires that students engage in tutoring
activities as part of field experiences. Deer Park elementary, an environmental science
magnet school, requested that CNU students serve as tutors, and 10 students worked there
this spring. Nine other students served as tutors at Hines and Warwick during the spring
Reading tutorial. As a prerequisite to the course on Reading Acquisition, students are
required to work at Riverside Elementary in a reading tutorial program. Students learn to
diagnose reading errors and implement corrective strategies under the guidance of the
reading specialist there. 12 students worked at Riverside this spring, and the students are
now expanding their work with classroom teachers during the month of May.
Language/ writing coaches. As a component of the graduate course Language Varieties
in American Schools, nine CNU students worked at Huntington Middle School to assist
eighth graders in recognizing and translating informal written language to formal written
Student teacher supervisors. Three recently retired Newport News teachers were hired to
supervise CNU student teachers. This practice will be expanded as the new program
takes effect. The retired teachers bring years of classroom experience and knowledge of
the Newport News system to the students during their student teaching internship.
Adjunct faculty. A Newport News lead teacher will teach the middle/secondary
Curriculum and Instruction course for the program in summer 04. A retiring Newport
News elementary teacher will teach the Classroom Management course during the