Nationally recognized for its successful approach to preparing art education professionals, MICA’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program focuses on the notion that teaching is an art in itself and that the best art teacher is a practicing, accomplished artist. In the MAT program, housed in MICA’s Center for Art Education, students develop mastery as artists and teachers simultaneously through intensive study in both pedagogical theory and practice. Through this process, teachers successfully integrate personal artistry with the skill and understanding to direct the art making of others.
The four-semester residency, directed by art educators Matthew Sutherlin, Ph.D. and Shyla Rao, Ed.D., consists of 53-64 credits of graduate education and liberal arts courses, internships and student teaching, and independent studio work; a state-mandated six credits in the teaching of reading are integrated into curriculum. The program is a Maryland State Approved Program for art teacher certification in grades preK-12. All students take national teacher exams (Praxis exams) and passing scores, as set by the state of Maryland, are required for completion of the program and degree. Maryland maintains reciprocity with 39 other states, which allows for easy transfer of certification.
Following initial classes that examine the role of art education in the schools and in child and adolescent development, students move on to develop teaching strategies, original research, and the practical teaching tools necessary for the profession. In addition to art education coursework, a graduate level studio thesis exhibition is required. Along the way, students work closely with others in the program’s community of students, renowned faculty, and visiting artists and art educators. Center for Art Education faculty have collectively earned state, regional, and national recognition.
From the start, every MAT course has a direct connection with the practice of teaching art to young people in a variety of settings. Through the program’s formal partnerships with area schools, MAT students begin their practice-based work by observing both teaching and student learning, comparing and contrasting different teaching contexts, and then assisting experienced art teacher-mentors. Students gradually assume the full role of a teacher through two internships and intensive student teaching in preK–12 classrooms. In the program's final phase, students complete job applications, develop interviewing skills, and assemble professional portfolios. The culminating event of the program is the Student Teacher Showcase, where accomplishments are evaluated by a visiting critic and presented to peers, family, and friends.
Students can take advantage of the program’s facilities, including the Hurwitz Study Center for Art Education, which boasts an extensive library of art education materials, dedicated seminar space, computers, and other equipment. In addition, MICA’s acclaimed Young People’s Studio program - a Saturday and summer school art program for grades K–12 that has provided high-quality art experiences for children and adolescents for more than a century - affords a unique laboratory experience for MAT students.
Schools across the nation actively pursue MAT graduates, with many receiving multiple job offers. MAT graduates have also taken on leadership positions in schools and districts throughout the state and around the country, often directing curriculum and teacher professional development. Some of our MAT graduates go on pursue doctoral studies; these students are regularly accepted into the leading doctoral programs across the country. Federal law requires publication of our pass rates on the Praxis exams. Out of the 29 graduates completing the program between August 2010 and May 2011 pass rates are as follows: on Praxis I: Reading, Writing, and Math composite scores - 94 percent. For Praxis II, pass rate for Art Content, Traditions, Criticism, and Aesthetics was 97 percent, and Art Content Knowledge, 100 percent. The percentage of students passing all five exams was 93 percent. The program includes preparation for the art content components of the exams. Students who have formal diagnosis and appropriate documentation of a learning disability can apply to the testing agency to take the exams under special conditions; these students should contact the Learning Resource Center immediately upon entry to the program for information on procedures for applying for special accommodation.
The art education coursework for the MAT graduate program begins in the fall or summer (Urban Teaching track only). A program plan developed with the graduate director of Art Education sets forth the sequence of courses for each student. In some cases, additional studio coursework may be needed to fulfill state certification and program requirements for specific studio areas. All graduate coursework must be completed with a grade of B or better. Many art education courses involve travel to sites in the schools and local museums, and student teaching involves daily travel to school placements, many within neighboring counties. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from these offcampus sites.
During ED 5309 Teaching Internship II, taken in the fall semester, students apply for placement as a student teacher for the following spring. A conference held with department faculty at the conclusion of Teaching Internship II is used to review the student's progress. Students demonstrating a level of readiness for student teaching are recommended for placement; those who do not may be given the opportunity to continue in the internship until such time as they are ready, or may be denied continuation in the program and completion of the degree. The last semester of the program consists of full-time student teaching. Each student completes two seven-week placements, one at the elementary level and one in a middle or high school setting. MICA provides supervision. Growth and progress in teaching is guided and evaluated by the cooperating teachers in the schools and by the college supervisor. Should withdrawal from student teaching be necessary, the program’s policy includes a contract for outlining an intervention plan and criteria for resumption or dismissal.
Overall continuation in the program is dependent on maintaining a minimum of a 3.0 overall grade point average and a B or better in art education courses. Completion of program and award of degree require successful completion of all course requirements and student teaching (B or better), plus passing scores on all required Praxis exams. The faculty will deny continuation for students who do not meet the minimum academic requirement for continuing in the program, or who do not demonstrate the knowledge, dispositions, behaviors, and performance consistent with program goals and requirements.