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Unique masters program targets English teachers

October 30, 2008

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The one-year-old Master of Arts for Teachers of English (MATE) program at the Surrey campus is unique in Canada – and May Yao wants every English teacher in the province to know about it.

"It’s tailor-made for English teachers in the B.C. education system," says Yao, an arts and social sciences faculty recruiter who has helped organize an information session for prospective MATE students:

Nov. 5 from 5:30-700 pm in room 3240 at the Surrey campus.

"After consulting with a number of teachers who had struggled to complete our regular MA program, we thought what was needed was a special stream of our program that had teachers’ needs and schedules in mind," says English department chair Tom Grieve

"We developed introductory courses to get students up to speed with current approaches to literary study and with new research methods and core graduate courses in Shakespeare and 20th Century literature. The other graduate courses offer the same rewards and challenges as those in our regular program."

MATE is a cohort program limited to only 12-15 students a year, to encourage a sense of community among and between students and faculty. Courses are scheduled in the summer and in the evening, with on-line course components to supplement face-to-face instruction.

During the two-year program, students take professional development seminars and six graduate courses covering a broad spectrum of traditional and new areas of study. A graduating essay completes the degree requirements.

Although a MATE degree can lead to significant salary increases in most professional teaching environments, students typically choose the program because of its intellectual engagement and breadth of scholarship.

Maureen Butler, a local college teacher, says, "After over 20 years of teaching, I have found the opportunity to reinvent myself as an English student to be stimulating, challenging and exciting."

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