This page contains past and present messages from Dr. John Meyer, MLC's Director of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education.
The title caught my attention: “Master’s Degree in English: Will Mow Lawns.” This article appeared in the November issue of Chronicle of Higher Education. It tells of the increasing number of graduate students earning degrees for which there is no market or use in the real world. It reminded me of many conversations I’ve had with undergraduate students and some existing teachers.
Some teachers have been heard to say, “The best part of teaching is . . . June, July, and August.” While most teachers I know use their summer to prepare for a successful school year, the summer break also provides the chance for them to spend more time with their own children, visit relatives, explore the country, or pursue a hobby. What about teachers who take courses during the summer? Don’t they ever get a chance to rest? I had an interesting conversation about that with some teachers who were on the MLC campus taking a summer school course recently.
At the end of each semester, graduate students are asked to complete a 46-item end-of-course survey. An impressive 87% of students enrolled in summer graduate courses completed their surveys. People often wonder whether their voice actually matters or whether what they say gets lost in some survey black hole. While individual identities remain anonymous, the data and comments from each MLC graduate course are carefully reviewed by both the instructor and the director, and recommendations are made as a result. Here are some things we learned:
People sometimes use the expression “thinking outside the box” to describe the importance of taking on a new or fresh perspective. When teachers seek graduate studies, they are looking for an outside perspective. MLC Graduate Studies makes it a priority to provide its graduate students with perspectives that represent the best and latest ideas in education.
Professional growth is one way many Christian teachers seek to serve their schools and students faithfully. While educators use advanced study to better meet their current duties, these learning experiences are also God’s way of preparing them for future opportunities to serve him, his church, and their neighbors.
Martin Luther College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The commission accredits more than 1,000 colleges and universities in 19 states, including the state universities and colleges in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. MLC is approved to offer the Master of Science in Education degree. Why is this accreditation important?
“You get what you pay for” can be good advice, but it’s not always true. Better advice is to seek maximum value for minimum cost. Many Lutheran schools are tremendous values. Parents who choose Lutheran schools get more than they pay for because their children receive a quality education together with the gospel of Jesus at a low cost. The tuition at most Lutheran schools reflects the goal to freely share the gospel, not turn a profit. Like Lutheran schools, the MLC graduate studies program is a tremendous value.
When MLC established its master’s program in 2004, teachers told us that one factor was imperative: flexibility. Because their time was limited, they needed a program that fit their schedule. Meaningful learning requires time and energy, and a high-quality accredited graduate program must meet certain expectations. So while we couldn’t reduce the time needed to earn a degree, what we could do was infuse our program with flexibility so that teachers could make it work with their busy schedules.
WELS teachers today have opportunities for professional growth that previous WELS teachers did not. At one time, many WELS teachers longed for a degree program where everything they learned applied directly to what they did. They wanted to learn from and with other WELS teachers who understood their ministry. But until recently, the thought of such a learning community of WELS teachers seemed unattainable.
The road to a graduate degree can involve some unexpected detours. Some of our 2012 master’s graduates shared their detours. One graduate had twins while completing her degree; at least four accepted calls and moved; and another needed to manage a personal issue. Despite the challenges, they all finished their degrees! How did that happen?