Catherine Couretas

The Miami University senate approved a new Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Foreign Language Education Monday.

The program allows students to earn their master’s degree and teacher licensure at the graduate level.

According to the proposal, a person who has earned a degree in Spanish, Latin, German, French or Chinese will now be able to obtain licensure through the MAT.

To earn this degree, students will need to enroll in the School of Education, Health and Society’s department of teacher education.

Currently, Miami only offers teacher licensure at the undergraduate level through the department of teacher education, according to the proposal.

Iris Johnson, a professor in the teacher education department, detailed which students may be interested in this MAT program.

“It’s for a person who has received their undergraduate degree in arts and sciences and has decided they want to become a teacher, and they want to get their master’s degree at the same time they get their licensure,” Johnson said.

According to Martha Castañeda, assistant professor of teacher education, this is not a new major, just a new area of study.

“The program already exists for sciences, social studies and a couple of other subjects,” Castañeda said.

Teacher licensure is currently available at the graduate level at Miami for integrated English/language arts, integrated mathematics, integrated socials studies and seven science areas, according to the proposal.

Castañeda said she expects to have students in this program studying a variety of languages.

“We envision a couple students from French, a couple from Spanish,” Castañeda said. “We would maybe have a cohort of six students in one year.”

She also said the graduate courses already exist, with spaces available in the courses for new students interested in this degree program.

The proposal stipulates that in addition to course work, students will be required to study abroad in areas where citizens speak their target language if students have not already done so during their undergraduate study.

According to the proposal, this is to help students obtain content and fluency in their language.

Assistant professor of teacher education Paul Lyddon said the program will be beneficial because there is a need for foreign language teachers.

“Last June, Cincinnati Public Schools (was) given a federal grant for critical languages, one of which is Chinese,” Lyddon said. “The Chinese government also wants to fund the training of teachers of Chinese.”

University Provost Jeffrey Herbst agreed with Lyddon that adding this MAT is positive for Miami.

“I think this will be another step in Miami’s contribution to helping Ohio become more internationalized and more global,” Herbst said.