In the first year of adding TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) to their program, the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Clarkson University’s Capital Region Campus has received the Clinically Rich-Intensive Teacher Institute TESOL grant from the New York State Department of Education. The grant provides a scholarship for students pursuing the Master of Arts in Teaching ESOL. The program has secured funding for 20 candidates per year for five years.
“I think this grant will draw people to our program,” says Dr. Karen Gregory, Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of the Arts in TESOL Program at Clarkson. “People will come to this program for the TESOL degree and this grant will make it more affordable. Almost all of this grant money goes towards scholarships for students,” says Gregory.
“Right now there is a large demand for TESOL instructors,” says Bradley LaMere, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment, “so this grant is meeting a demand not only in New York but in the entire country.” Dr. Catherine Snyder, chair of the Department of Education says there is such a high demand for ENL (English as a new language) teachers, that many school districts are willing to hire people who are not yet certified. “This grant will allow us to open doors to more students,” says Snyder. “I predict with this grant we will quadruple our enrollment.”
Gregory says what sets the Clarkson program apart from others is that it’s an online program taught by experienced ENL teachers with doctorates or National Board Certification in TESOL, making it easier for teachers who are currently in the field to do the coursework while still working. “A lot of other colleges and universities are theory based, but all of our courses are taught by people who are either current K-12 teachers or former K-12 teachers, so they have a wealth of knowledge to share with the students,” says Gregory. With Clarkson being one of the top programs in the area, this grant will only add to the appeal. “We have 100% placement for all graduates in the past three years,” says LaMere. “Having these extra credentials makes the students even more desirable.”
But most importantly, Snyder says, is the ability to now better serve students. “We are excited about the opportunity to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable students,” says Snyder. “We are excited about really serving the need in our public schools.”