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Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction


Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction is designed to help teachers and professional educators enhance their professionalism, improve their quality of instruction, and better prepare them for leadership roles within their school districts. By integrating theory, practice, and research, the Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction provides teachers and professional educators with opportunities to enhance their levels of professional knowledge, discover innovative and effective approaches to teaching and learning, and at the same time gain greater competency within their disciplines. The primary purpose of the MACI program is to advance knowledge and increase skills for education professionals in instructional or leadership contexts.

Each course within this Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction program is three credit hours. Individual professors determine the criteria for evaluation; however, it is expected that professors will utilize varied methods of instruction and assessment including readings, online technology, examinations, research papers, and relevant field-based assignments. One consistent requirement across all courses within the program will focus on the need to meet program objectives. All courses will also be theory-and-action-oriented. In addition, there will be a specific research course designed to familiarize students with the strategies needed to successfully put the knowledge they have gained regarding theory and methodology into action by completing their capstone thesis experience.

The Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction is a 33-credit hour program of study. Students complete 15 credits in educational pedagogy, and 15 credits in a discipline-specific content area. After successfully completing all core and content area courses, students are eligible to take the Comprehensive Exam. Successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam is a prerequisite for the 3-credit hour capstone course, EDUC 580 – Action Research Thesis Experience.

Multi-categorical Special Education

The multi-categorical special education endorsement will prepare teachers to teach students with specific Learning Disabilities, Emotional/Behavoiral Disabilities, and Intellectual disabilities by creating teachers who are knowledgeable of learners with exceptionalities and their diverse needs. Teachers will also be prepared by using knowledge that they have learned in coursework and connecting with that knowledge to authentic and real-world experiences. Finally, the endorsement program will be offered in a cohort style, and this will enhance teachers’ ability to collaborate with professionals and families, a vital part of the special education profession.

The West Virginia Department of Education and West Virginia Policy 2419 and 5202 mandates initial teacher certification for the delivery of special education courses and that teachers must be “highly qualified” to work with these students. One way educations can accomplish this in West Virginia is through an endorsement in Special Education. The five courses in Shepherd’s Multi-Categorical Special Education program will fulfill this requirement.

Students taking the five courses to receive their Special Education Endorsement must have already received their initial licensure in either Elementary or Secondary Education in one of the 5 content areas: Social Studies, Math, English, Science, or Biology. In addition to completing the five required courses, students must pass the Praxis II test (Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications) and complete a significant field placement experience during the semester they are enrolled in advanced methods courses EDUC 564 and EDUC 566).

The completion of the endorsement may also lead to a Masters of Art in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization (concentration) in Multi-categorical Special Education.

Individualized Concentration

By allowing teachers and professional educators such as principals, coaches, guidance counselors and other educational leaders the flexibility to craft their own program of study, the MACI program can be assured that students graduate with an enhanced level of professional knowledge, leading to greater competency in the discipline. A unique feature of this new concentration is the selection by the student of an individualized strand. Students may take an approved set of courses in other degree programs such as Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in College Student Development and Administration, and Master of Music, Music Education. By utilizing courses and faculty in other degree programs, students can be assured of the availability of classes in a timely manner, leading to decreased time to degree complete and greater student satisfaction.

What students are saying about the MACI program

"I am so grateful to the professors and my advisor, Dr. Toole, for the fantastic education I have received at Shepherd."
"The professors in the MACI program are caring, knowledgeable, and responsive to student needs. They made the time spent in the program worthwhile! Experiences and learning from the program will aid me professionally."

Contact Dr. Belinda Mitchell for more information.