SMCM Graduates First Master of Arts in Teaching Class - Southern Maryland Headline News

SMCM Graduates First Master of Arts in Teaching Class

The first Master of Arts in Teaching candidates graduated from St. Mary's College of Maryland this summer. Graduates and faculty pictured from left to right: (back row) Dr. Julia Bates, Dr. Ardith Harle, Dr. Katy Arnett, Sara Bodde, Katie Dobbin, Armando Hernandez, David Pugh, (front row) Tanya Rosalowsky Davis, Sara Zylak, Dr. Angela Johnson, Dr. Lois Stover.

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (August 29, 2007) - The first Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) class graduated from St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) this summer. The program, which began in 2006, is an intensive one-year curriculum that certifies students in education. This is the first master's degree offered by the College. Six new teachers will enter the Maryland classrooms this month, and a second and larger M.A.T. class will begin soon. There are 24 graduate students enrolled in the 2007-2008 program.

"Every faculty member at St. Mary's is a part of the development of each future teacher," said Ardith Harle, educational studies chair at the College. "From each course a soon-to-be teacher takes, he or she learns something about the nature of the discipline, and how the course correlates with other aspects of teaching."

This first graduating class marks a beginning for St. Mary's new program. During the graduation ceremony, James P. Muldoon, the College's chairman of the Board of Trustees, said that the College responded to Maryland's need for well educated teachers by establishing the M.A.T. program.

Muldoon introduced Lois Stover, who served as professor of educational studies during the development of the program and was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. "Dr. Stover was a driving force in bringing the master's program to the undergraduate institution," said Muldoon.

Stover spoke about the students and their efforts to complete the program in one year. She spotlighted their hard work and commitment. "You have had to synthesize everything you know about children, about learning and motivation theory, about society and our history and culture, and, most importantly, what you know about yourselves in order to do your best for your students every day," said Stover. She also thanked them for being professional, patient and flexible.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson (retired) spoke to the graduates and their families on behalf of the College's Board of Trustees. Jackson is chair of the academics affairs council on St. Mary's Board of Trustees. He expressed the hope that in addition to teaching in Maryland, future graduates would teach in the Washington D.C. school district and restore it to its past academic excellence.

The graduates are:

Sara Bodde of Lexington Park, Maryland, earned a certificate in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. Her thesis title was, "The Call to Teach" and explored the motivation and preparation required in teaching. Bodde will teach at Takoma Park Elementary School in Montgomery County. Bodde, who was chosen by her peers to speak at graduation, and spoke warmly of her fellow students, teachers and the College. She said to the faculty and parents, "Thank you for forming us to be the teachers we will be." She also thanked the students whom she taught during her classroom training who believed in her even before she believed in herself.

Tanjy Rosalowsky Davis of Saint Mary's City, Maryland, earned a certificate in Secondary Education in English and German and graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. Her thesis title was, "Can Grammar Instruction Still be Successful under the Worst Possible Circumstances?" and she studied the research, educational theory, and public perception on the effectiveness of grammar instruction. Davis moved to Maryland from Germany and has applied to teach in Montgomery County.

Katie Dobbin of Middletown, Rhode Island, earned a certificate in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Here thesis was titled, "Work or Play? Existing Misconceptions about Early Childhood Education." Dobbin graduated with a 4.0 grade average. She will teach at Leonardtown Elementary School in St. Mary's County.

Armando Hernandez of Dameron, Maryland, earned a certificate in Secondary Education in physics and Spanish. He has also been accepted into NASA's Teachers in Space program. Hernandez' master's thesis title was "Student Achievement and Analysis of Motivation, Factors, and Preventive measures for Student Misbehavior." Hernandez interviewed students about their philosophical beliefs, family structure, educational goals and motivations. He worked two jobs as he attended college. Hernandez will teach at Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County.

Dave Pugh of Mechanicsville, Maryland, earned a K-12 certificate in music. Pugh wrote on, "The Effect of a Structured Instrumental Practice Regime." Pugh will work for the St. Mary's County Public Schools and split his days between Leonardtown Middle School, Margaret Brent Middle School and Esperanza Middle School.

Sara Zylak of Bushwood, Maryland, earned a K-12 certificate in music. Zylak's thesis topic was "Are Higher Achieving Students More Inclined to Enroll in Music Courses?" Zylak will teach at Ridge Elementary School in St. Mary's County.

The College's new program has been in the planning since 1996, said Lois Stover, associate provost for the College. Students can be certified to teach either at the elementary level or in the secondary content fields of English, social studies, chemistry, physics, math, biology, or modern foreign languages. A certification in early childhood education may be added to an elementary certificate. Additionally, students may certify to teach music, art and drama in grades K-12.

Those who complete the program receive both a Bachelor of Arts degree in their selected major and a graduate-level credential.

The M.A.T. program at SMCM is a fifth-year course of study that is open to students who have completed their undergraduate degree and the required prerequisite courses. Formal acceptance into the M.A.T. program is done by application before October of the senior year. For more information about the program, visit the Web site or contact Ardith Harle, Educational Studies Chair, at azharle (at) or call (240-895-4337).

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