posted Aug 01, 2011 in ACADEMICS
McPherson College is making plans to offer a graduate degree for the first time in its 125-year history. The first classes for a master of arts in teaching will be available in fall of 2012, and the college has already taken the important step of hiring Dr. Mark Malaby to develop and ultimately lead the college’s first graduate course of study.
Dr. Malaby said that in directing the program, he would be focusing on developing teachers who meet Teacher Leader Standards, described at www.teacherleaderstandards.org.
“It promotes the development of teachers who seek positive change both in the school and the community,” Dr. Malaby said. “The best way to accomplish this is through real-world experience in the community. I am a staunch supporter of progressive education, meaning that the bulk of the learning must fit with students’ career goals and happen as much as possible in the schools where they’re serving.”
Dr. Malaby is coming to McPherson College from Ball State University in Indiana, where since 2005 he taught gender studies, multicultural education and sociology in the school of education. Dr. Kent Eaton, provost, said Dr. Malaby is a leader in education who consistently demonstrated McPherson College values – scholarship, participation and service.
Dr. Malaby said that overreliance on standards-based education has created teachers who know the content, but in many cases have lost their passion for making a difference in students’ lives.
“Relationships drive education,” Dr. Malaby said. “They predicate everything. Without them, education does not happen.”
He said that while knowing content is clearly essential, the teachers who make a profound difference reach out to students, nurture their love of learning and serve as guides on students’ educational journeys. This master’s degree, he said, will help foster those kind of teachers.
“For McPherson College, it’s not why ‘a’ master’s. It’s why ‘this’ master’s,” he said. “This master’s will be the antithesis of impersonal, bureaucratic-based education that’s all too common.”
Dr. Malaby said he plans to offer a core curriculum, a practical research project, and a capstone project requiring the student to create a sustainable program or venture that creates an actual positive influence in the lives of students. Dr. Eaton said the master’s program was in line with the college’s long history of teacher education and demonstrated that the college was fully committed to helping educators realize the full potential of their skills and talents.
“We strongly believe in the need for experiential learning,” Dr. Eaton said. “This real-time, project- based degree design is consistent with the mission and philosophy of MC, and obviously is the next step for the college as we seek to be responsive to local and regional issues.”
Dr. Malaby said it was this openness to innovative and practical learning that attracted him to McPherson College.
“This amazing opportunity to try to enact some of these ideas makes this the best job ever. Period,” he said. “It’s the coolest adventure I can imagine to see whether some of my most deeply held beliefs in education are actionable.”