The College is feeling the impact of state budget cuts once again with the recently recommended cancellation of six master’s programs within the School of Education, according to William Behre, dean of the School of Education.
College President R. Barbara Gitenstein officially made this recommendation at the July 10 meeting of the Board of Trustees. Gitenstein said programs facing cancellation include four Master of Education programs: Elementary Supervision, Elementary Master Teaching, Elementary and Early Childhood Education and Learning Disabilities Teacher/Consultant (LDTC). Also included in the list of programs facing cancellation were the Substance Abuse Post-Master’s Certificate program and the Master in Speech Pathology program .
In an e-mail interview, Gitenstein said making the recommendation to cancel these programs was not simple. “These discussions and decisions have been extremely difficult,” she said. According to Gitenstein, she made the recommendation after following the “full institutional governance process.”
“This process requires full campus involvement, discussion and analysis by the appropriate governance committee,” she said.
Gitenstein said students were included in making the recommendation for the decision. “I know that Dean Behre, (Interim) Provost (Elizabeth) Paul and I have been in communication with several students and with some off-campus interested parties,” she said. “Dean Behre has considered all the input in the crafting of his initial recommendation. Provost Paul and I have considered them in our acceptance of the recommendations that have reached us from the governance committee.”
In an e-mail interview, Behre said the “budget situation” caused deans in the various academic schools to re-examine their programs. “At that time, there were several programs that I was already concerned about,” Behre said. “Some were under-enrolled. Some were perpetually difficult to staff – which is a challenge when you are trying to maintain quality.”
Behre emphasized that although the budget crisis was a catalyst for the recommended cancellation of the programs, the decision may have been made in the future, due to the aforementioned circumstances.
Shridevi Rao, associate professor of special education, language & literacy and graduate coordinator for the Master of Education LDTC program, said in an e-mail interview that she agrees with the recommendation made by Behre and Gitenstein.
“The conversation to close the (Master of Education) program that culminated in the (LDTC) certificate was made prior to the budgetary crisis,” Rao said. “We recommended that it be closed because the program was weak.”
According to Behre, the cancellation of these master’s programs will be to the College’s benefit. “By canceling some programs, the College can use the resources saved to maintain or increase quality in other areas.”
Gitenstein expressed a similar sentiment. “There were other programs into which a program could be merged to create a better one by the combination,” she said. “By eliminating some of these graduate programs, we will be able to reallocate resources, and add any additional resources that come our way to our primary mission, which is undergraduate education.”
Rao said the School of Education has already begun to address this. “Most recently, we have added two new graduate programs to our list,” she said. “These programs culminate in certification as a teacher of the blind and visually impaired.”
“Also, we have a post master’s certification program that culminates in certification as an LDTC,” she added.
Students currently enrolled in any of the programs recommended for cancellation will not be affected if the Board of Trustees approves the recommendation, according to Gitenstein. “We will accommodate all students currently enrolled in programs to allow them to finish their requirements,” she said.
Jenny Aydelotte, junior special education and English major, said she planned on continuing her post-graduate work at the College. “I might have looked into (the LDTC) program down the road as a separate opportunity,” Aydelotte said. She added that if the program was canceled, it wouldn’t affect her that much due to the newly created LDTC opportunity.
A formal recommendation to cancel the programs will be presented to the Board of Trustees in October.
OUT OF THE PROGRAM PLANNER
Educational Leadership Option (EDEC) in which a New Jersey supervisor’s certificate is pursued. Three years of teaching experience is required in New Jersey public schools and completed under a New Jersey teacher’s certificate.
Elementary Master Teaching
Master Teacher Option (EDEG) designed to improve teaching competence.
Elementary and Early Childhood Education
Core courses required for all students pursing a degree in addition to specialization courses to prepare students in a specific area of interest. Students must meet the undergraduate liberal arts course requirement of 60 credits and have a GPA of 3.0 in the Master of Arts Teaching program.
Substance Abuse Post-Master’s Certificate Program
Students must choose one of two options in the Department of Counselor Education. The School Counseling option (CPSA) will qualify students for New Jersey state certification in Student Personnel Services at the elementary and secondary levels and Pennsylvania state certification in School Counseling at the elementary and secondary levels. The Community Counseling option specializes in Human Services (CPSE) and Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling (CPSD).
Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant
The program is for candidates who hold standard special education certificates, and is designed for teachers who wish to earn a master’s degree in special education with additional certification as a learning disabilities teacher/consultant, the educational specialist on the state-mandated child study teams.
Students train to become entry level professionals who understand the basic processes and mechanisms involved in human speech, hearing, language, swallowing and other disorders. Students are prepared to improve the quality of lives for individuals affected by communication disorders.