Sweet Briar College announces M.Ed. fellowship program

Local teachers interested in earning a Master of Education degree can now do so for half the regular tuition with the newly launched James Alouf Fellowship. Sweet Briar College has been offering its coeducational M.A.T. and M.Ed. programs since 2004.

The M.Ed. program is designed for men and women who are college graduates with a teaching license and at least three years of teaching experience. With 30 credit hours spread out over the summer, fall and spring, it is a flexible part- or full-time program designed around each candidate’s teaching responsibilities, with classes offered in the afternoon and evening. Candidates may enter the program in the fall or spring semester.

The James Alouf Fellowship will be awarded to existing teachers from local counties and includes teachers from the city of Lynchburg and Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Buckingham, Campbell and Nelson counties. Up to 12 awards will be made for the upcoming academic year. To be considered, teachers must be nominated by their school’s principal or superintendent. Principals/superintendents are asked to send a brief recommendation explaining why they have nominated a particular teacher for this fellowship. Eligible school districts can nominate up to three candidates.

Prof. Jim Alouf came to Sweet Briar in 1982.

Admission requirements include current teacher licensure, a graduate application, transcripts of coursework with a 2.75 GPA or higher, as well as two letters of recommendation — one letter must be from the applicant’s principal or superintendent. Fellowship recipients are expected to serve as mentors to undergraduate education students.

Sweet Briar College is offering the fellowship in honor of the recently retired Jim Alouf, professor emeritus of education and director of the College’s accredited education program.

“Jim’s 35-year contribution to Sweet Briar’s education program is immeasurable, and this fellowship continues that tradition,” said Dean of the Faculty Rob Granger. At only $178 per credit hour, he added, the fellowship “provides an accessible and affordable M.Ed. program and helps to ensure that high-quality instruction remains available to our community.”

M.Ed. students benefit from Sweet Briar’s small, interactive classes. Learning alongside M.A.T. students, M.Ed. candidates build the knowledge and skills to differentiate curriculum and instruction effectively in today’s diverse classrooms. A comprehensive field research project allows candidates to identify an area of interest, need or growth. They then develop an action research proposal, conduct research in their own classrooms and present the results in a final thesis.

M.Ed. candidates are paired with teachers in local public schools to collaborate on curriculum and instruction design, gather observational data to determine the visibility of learning, and use this data and research-based principles of coaching to assess the effectiveness of their design. These teachers use assessment results to design high-quality, differentiated curriculum and instruction. This defines principles and strategies of assessment and responsive teaching in order to effectively match curriculum and instruction with the ongoing needs of learners. Rubrics, quality indicators and performance criteria will be used to assess the effects of teaching as well as learning.

Sweet Briar’s education department combines rigorous and engaging coursework with individualized mentoring by faculty. Extensive field experiences ensure graduates are ready for the classroom and make a positive impact on their students.

All classrooms are technology-centered to empower students to critically assess new technologies and the learning opportunities that come with them. From day one, students learn what it means to be a teacher-leader and leave with the confidence and skills to assume leadership roles in their profession.

Sweet Briar’s education faculty consists of experienced teachers who are active researchers. They hold leadership roles in regional and national education associations and work closely with area school divisions.

More information about the fellowship and Sweet Briar’s education program is at sbc.edu/social-sciences/education.

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