Bryant to offer MAT

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  (Sept. 26, 2011) -- Bryant University's Board of Trustees has given its approval for the College of Arts and Sciences to offer a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). The 15-month graduate program will lead to teacher certification in grades 7-12 in the areas of mathematics, science, Spanish, Chinese, English, and social studies.

Courses would begin in the summer of 2012 pending approval of the Rhode Island Department of Education.

The MAT program "is a natural for Bryant and plays to our strength in the liberal art."

David Lux

Donald W. Holder, Ed.D., recently hired as Bryant's associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will direct the new MAT program. Holder has had a distinguished career as an educator and administrator - most recently as assistant superintendent of Smithfield (R.I.) Public Schools.

"The scope of education is changing greatly, and the need for exceptional educators who have deep knowledge in the content areas of science, technology, engineering and math is critical," said Holder. "The Bryant MAT program will produce such teachers. They will be skilled in the use of new technology in the classroom and will understand how children of different abilities and backgrounds acquire knowledge."

"As we work to ensure that we have excellent teachers in all Rhode Island classrooms, one of our goals is to improve the quality and the rigor of educator-preparation programs in our state," said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. "I am excited that Bryant University has elected to develop a graduate program that will emphasize mathematics, science, technology, and world languages. I look forward to working with Bryant officials to make sure that this new program is of the highest quality, and I hope to welcome Bryant University as the newest teacher-preparation program in Rhode Island."

Teachers certified in science and mathematics will have the best employment prospects in the coming decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with most job openings resulting from the need to replace tens of thousands of teachers expected to retire through 2018. Currently, many school districts have difficulty hiring qualified teachers in the subject areas of mathematics, science, bilingual education and foreign languages, the BLS notes.

The MAT program "is a natural for Bryant and plays to our strength in the liberal arts -- our mathematics, biology and environmental science programs, as well as our programs in Chinese and Spanish," said David Lux, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Bryant has a very strong tradition of pre-professional education and our students have indicated a great deal of interest in becoming certified to teach. We're pleased with the encouragement we've received from state officials and regional school systems. This is a direction that offers our graduates a promising future."