Regents Approve Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership Development

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

April 19, 2005 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a specialist degree in educational leadership development.

Southeast’s Department of Educational Administration and Counseling will offer the degree program on the Southeast campus and at other off-campus sites, including the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center, the Crisp Bootheel Education Center in Malden, Mo., the Kennett Area Higher Education Center, Poplar Bluff, Perryville Area Higher Education Center, Mineral Area Community College and Jefferson County Community College.

Prior to being considered by the Board of Regents, the program was approved by the College of Education, the Graduate Council and Academic Council, said Dr. Jane Stephens, provost at Southeast Missouri State University.

The new specialist degree is designed for Missouri’s public school classroom teachers who wish to remain in the classroom. Beginning in 1993, Stephens said, Missouri’s future educators and teachers who needed to renew teaching certificates were required to earn a master’s degree. This resulted in most classroom teachers obtaining a master’s degree in various fields, including elementary education, secondary education, math, science, history, language arts, foreign language, vocational education, business, special education, administration and counseling. As a result, Stephens said, about 50 percent of classroom teacher with 10 to 15 years of experience have a master’s degree.

Last spring, Southeast officials began meeting with public school classroom teachers with master’s degrees in the region. They discussed the need for classroom teachers to pursue specialist degrees. Most of them said they would prefer a degree in instructional leadership rather than a degree in administration or counseling, which currently is the only specialist degree available to classroom teachers, Stephens said.  

The new degree is designed for all classroom teachers and will meet the requirements for the new professional development rules for teacher certification renewal which began in August 2003.

Stephens said officials in Southeast’s Department of Educational Administration and Counseling estimate about 2,000 classroom teachers in the University’s service region may be interested in the new specialist degree.

She said most classes will be taught by current full-time faculty. No more than two classes a semester will be taught by adjunct faculty, she said.