Colorado College is primarily known as a rigorous, undergraduate liberal arts college. Less well known, however, is the MAT graduate program that the college also offers.
There are two parts to the program: the Experienced Teacher MAT Program and the Literacy Intervention Specialist Certification Program. The Experienced Teacher Program is for teachers who have already had at least one year of teaching experience. The program focuses on comparative education and international teaching.
Students of the MAT program enroll in one CC graduate course, which is equivalent to four semester hours. They engage in comparative education on campus and an individual focus abroad. Participants teach P-12 for three weeks abroad and reflect upon their experiences afterward.
The Literacy Intervention Specialist Certification program is a two-year program that focuses on research-based specialized strategies in reading instruction for students with dyslexia and other related disorders. Graduates of the course who have enough teaching hours are qualified to take the Alliance Exam, which certifies them with the Academic Language Therapy Association. Passing the exam will allow them to receive a Dyslexia Therapist Certification or Dyslexia Teacher Level Certificate.
For the last 60 years, the program accepted both CC students and students from other schools. However, starting in 2017, the program will only accept CC students. “Traditionally, CC students have made 35 to 45 percent of the graduate program,” said Associate Professor and MAT Department Chair Mike Taber.
Juniors at CC who are Education majors or minors will be able to apply early decision to the program and start at the end of their senior year. “Every occupation has a disposition,” said Taber. “Just because you are smart and have taken an education course does not mean you should be teaching kids. So, we are selective that way. We try to limit the number of graduate students to around 15 students.”
CC has always had a focus on education. Even though the Education major is a fairly recent addition, the college has always emphasized education. When women were first allowed to attend CC, their career choices were limited because of gender. This caused the college to focus on creating and maintaining a strong Education Department, as many female students majored in the subject.
Once CC shifted to the block plan, however, the culture of the school changed from a small university to that of a liberal arts college. The school got rid of departments such as engineering and forestry, but kept the Education Masters program.
“We focus on education as a very important social justice issue. It’s connected to everything including sociology, race and ethnic relations studies, feminist and gender studies, psychology, and political science,” said Taber.
The MAT program focuses on instructing graduates both on effective methods of teaching and on the social justice aspect of education. “We encourage our graduates to be advocates for change,” said Taber. A little less then one-fourth of CC graduates are involved in some way with education in their careers. “Our new motto is five years, two degrees, and a career,” said Taber.