Two master's programs preparing students for an increasingly global world will be offered for the first time at Valparaiso University this fall. The Graduate School is currently accepting applications for the MA in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and MA in Comparative Global Inquiry programs.
MA in TESOL
Whether teaching English to students in Saudi Arabia or to Spanish speakers in an American school, the need for teachers of the English language is great.
By empowering students to teach English in multicultural and international environments, the new MA in TESOL program “prepares students for a global citizenship,” David Rowland, dean of The Graduate School, said. “It gives [students] specific skills that can have global importance or relevance.”
Because of the dominance of the English language in international areas such as commerce and diplomacy, Rowland said the MA in TESOL program addresses the growing demand for English speakers around the world.
“Countries that want to do global commerce must have English speakers,” Rowland said.
Additionally, the program will accommodate American students interested in teaching English to non-native speakers in the United States.
“As the Hispanic population increases, it will prepare [English teachers] to be more diverse,” Edward Uehling, chair of the English Department and director of the MA in TESOL program, said.
The Graduate School already offers a 15-credit TESOL certificate, which will remain available. But for students looking to expand on the curriculum taught in the certificate program, the TESOL master's degree allows for a greater scope of study and more recognizable accreditation.
“We want to be able to have people in the public schools certified to teach,” Uehling said. “[The master's degree] will be more recognizable for certification.”
MA in Comparative Global Inquiry
By spending nearly two-thirds of their graduate program abroad, Comparative Global Inquiry students can anticipate a truly international education — not to mention a life-changing experience.
“Most people would say spending a significant time abroad changes their thinking,” Rowland said of the philosophy behind the new MA program.
Through direct exposure to different cultures, the Comparative Global Inquiry program is designed to allow students to experience and study the world by comparing two distinctly different areas.
Following their first semester at Valparaiso University, students spend two semesters abroad, one each in a different country in separate regions of the world. In addition to taking courses, students also use their time abroad to gather research for their thesis, which examines a global issue in two geographical and cultural contexts.
The program is designed for, but not limited to, students looking to move on to a doctoral degree in an international discipline, students interested in working at an international center or similar institution, and students who simply want an overseas study experience.
“It's a niche program,” Rowland explained, “and is very specialized. It fulfills specific interests and needs.”
Regardless of why they enter the program, Comparative Global Inquiry students are expected to leave profoundly changed.
“Each student will come back with a story to tell,” Rowland said. “These are stories that make peoples' lives.”
Written by Derek Smith