The integrated study of the truth and vitality of Catholicism in its impact on human thought and culture has drawn primary and secondary teachers to the graduate program. Teachers in the program have come from a number of disciplines. The first to enroll in the program taught mathematics; the most recent instructor to graduate teaches English. What teachers most appreciate is the opportunity to study the breadth of Catholicism and to see their own discipline integrated within a larger context, grounded in the Catholic faith. John Rogers ’10 M.A., faculty member in English at St. Thomas Academy, found the program “an excellent way to deepen my understanding of the role that the arts play in Catholic life. The CSMA program has reinvigorated my teaching.”
A desire to serve teachers has given rise to a number of initiatives in the graduate program over the years. Several years ago, the Catholic Studies Department began offering a summer program in which the requirements of the program could be met entirely by study during the summer. In addition to local teachers taking courses during the summer, there are also students from the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, Tenn., and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Mich.While it is the integrative interdisciplinary Catholic character of the program as a whole that attracts students, Father Michael Keating’s course on the history of Western education has been an important course for the teachers. This summer the program will offer another course of particular interest to teachers, “Contemporary Challenges of Catholic K-12 Education.” The course will be taught by Dr. Kevin Ferdinandt, director of the upper school at Providence Academy, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas. To help make the program more affordable for teachers, Catholic Studies has undertaken two new scholarship programs this year. The Cooperative Scholarship works with schools to help finance the MA program for teachers on their faculty. Under the program, Catholic Studies covers one-third of the tuition, the school covers one-third, and the student covers the remaining third. Two students are already participating in the program. For lay teachers whose schools are not able to participate in the Cooperative Scholarship Program, Catholic Studies has Scholarships for Teachers, which cover one-third of the tuition costs.
Dr. John Boyle, director of the graduate program, is eager to make it available to teachers. “At a time when parents, teachers and bishops are eager for a Catholic education that reaches across the disciplines and unites them in ways that are intellectually illuminating, Catholic Studies has much to offer primary and secondary education.”
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