myUMD | Search | People | Departments | Events | News

Graduate Programs Council

May 1, 2007

Present: Helen Mongan-Rallis, Clare Croteau, Alexandra Luong, Lynn Bye, Julie Ernst, Jackie Millslagle.

Excused: Faith Loven

Guests: Ken Gilbertson, Joyce Strand

Purpose of this meeting was to get reports from collegiate programs on outcomes/procedures for each program. This activity was set in order to update the description of each collegiate program at the end of the policy document.

Ken Gilbertson reported for the M.Ed. Environmental Education program.



The purpose of the Master of Education in Environmental Education program is to develop advanced practitioners in environmental education who will take on leadership roles through positions such as educators and directors at nature centers, outdoor and environmental education centers, natural resource agencies, conservation groups, park and recreation programs, and in P-16 school settings.

Intended Outcomes

After successfully completing the program, students will be able to:

  • Describe the history, goals, underlying theory, and emerging trends of and related to the field of environmental education;
  • Describe and accept the professional responsibilities and dispositions associated with practicing environmental education;
  • Plan and implement instructionally-sound environmental lessons and programs;
  • Design and integrate assessment strategies into environmental education lessons;
  • Plan and conduct a program evaluation of an environmental education program and use the information to improve the program or make decisions about future programming;
  • Develop a long range management plan for an environmental education-related center;
  • Demonstrate skills and dispositions relating to investigating and addressing environmental issues;
  • Use existing environmental education research and research from related fields, such as outdoor education, adventure education, science education, experiential education, and conservation psychology, to inform and guide practice; and
  • Design and conduct social science research relating to environmental education.

Program Requirements

Core requirements in teaching methodology in formal and non-formal settings; program development, management, and evaluation; theory; and research (23 credits); elective courses supporting final project and/or specific areas of interest (5-7 credits), and a final project (research-based thesis, research-based journal article, field project, or curriculum project) (4-6 credits).  Minimum total credits for the degree is 30 credits.

Admission Requirements

Admission is competitive and applications are reviewed based on the following requirements:

  • A minimum grade point average of 2.80 in the undergraduate major is recommended; if the GPA is less than 2.8 the Admissions Committee will also consider GRE scores submitted by the applicant
  • Official undergraduate transcripts
  • The following supporting documents:  a). a resume; b). a personal statement (see program webpage for specific details); c). three examples of your professional work (see program webpage for specific details); and d). three letters of recommendation 
  • A TOEFL score of 500 or higher is required from students whose first language is not English

Ken, explained that the program includes a strong educational component, experiential, outdoor and environmental. Mostly full-time students, in-state, national and international. M.Ed. students are combined with WRELC students in certificate courses, mostly held Friiday afternoons. Faculty team is Ken, Bruce, Julie, Bill Fleissman., Tom Beery. Final project must be a thesis or field project (vs. curriculum development). Students are trained as consumers of research vs. researchers. Students leave - some to doctoral programs, to environmental learning centers, park service, higher education outdoor education programs, teachers go back to the classroom. Accept 6-9 per year. Students get some financial support.

There was general discussion and sharing of information in a question/answer format. Points of interest:

  • M.Ed. office and CEED need to compare data related to completion rates.
  • Students present research proposals at colloquia in first year; and results of research at seminar in second year.. Defense must be done in person, on-campus. Thesis or project must be bound.
  • The issue of degree name was discussed. Ken feels students are better served by M.Ed. than M.E.Ed. Suggestion that perhaps it needs to be revisited.
  • No online courses.
  • On average - faculty chair 3-4 graduate committees and are members on 8-12.
  • Students register in 3 credits of 5990 before the proposal is approved.
  • EE faculty have discussed the possibility of requiring students to remaing enrolled in credit-bearing courses until the thesis is finished.



The Master of Special Education (M.SpEd.) is designed for licensed special education teachers and offers advanced training in behavior intervention planning, administration and supervision, research, and program evaluation.

Program Requirements

The program will operate as a cohort of graduate candidates who take courses together over three summers and complete data-based research or field projects as a terminal activity for graduation.  Requirements include 15 credits in special education; 6 credits of research methods and design; and 9 credits or research and investigation.

Admission Requirements

Minimum requirements include: a license to teach special education; a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university; a minimum undergraduate gpa of 2.5; and a TOEFL score of 500 or higher from students whose first language is not English. The following items will be evaluated by the admissions committee: a personal goal statement; three letters of reference; a 3-page writing sample on a topic selected by special education faculty.

Joyce Strand explained that the program targets teachers with special educaiton licensure who want advanced training. Courses transfers into special education director programs at other Minnesota instittuions. Delivered as a summer cohort with major projects that were completed in classrooms due around Thanksgiving. Topic for final project developed by end of first summer; methods developed and IRB submitted by end of second summer; data is collected during second academic year; project to be finished during third summer.Six of eight in the first cohort have finished. Project credits are in the Leadership Practice courses.

There were low numbers for the first cohort; a decision about starting another cohort to be made this week.

M.Ed. Cohort Program


The Master of Education (M.Ed.) Degree is for the professional development of persons in educator or training roles within the human services professions: classroom teachers, teachers in specialized areas, and professionals with training responsibilities in health sciences, social services, community education, as well as in business or industry. This graduate degree program is designed to meet the professional growth needs of the candidate.

The minimum 30-credit program consists of a core curriculum, electives or a selected concentration, and a final project under the direction of a faculty advisor. Core courses and some electives are delivered in a primarily online model, combining face–to–face weekend sessions at the beginning of each semester with teaching and learning in an online community. Some elective courses are traditional, on–campus courses. The program is delivered over two years for professionals who wish to earn the graduate degree while maintaining full–time employment. Students are admitted to an identified cohort and register in two years of core curriculum with the same cohort.


The purpose of the M.Ed. program is to prepare students who are competent in critical pedagogy and reflective practice.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 30-credits consists of a core curriculum, electives or a selected concentration, and a final project under the direction of a faculty advisor.

The program consists of the following:

  • Core courses (20 credits required - effective Fall 2007)
    • Educ 7001, Introduction to Graduate Study (2)
    • Educ 7002, Human Diversity and Exceptionality (2)
    • Educ 7004, Educational Action Research and Inquiry (4)
    • Educ 7006, Ethics and Professionalism in Education (2)
    • Educ 7008, Foundations of Teaching and Learning: Curriculum Theory and Design (4)
    • Educ 7009, Assessment of Student Learning (3)
    • Educ 7010, Current Issues and Practices in Educational Technology (3 credits)
  • Final project: 2-4 credits
  • Elective courses: Electives are selected by the student and approved by the graduate committee to support career goals and objectives. Electives may focus on a particular area of study, such as educational leadership, early childhood education, indigenous language revitalization, or educational technology. Students who wish to take additional courses in educational technology may also earn a concentration in educational technology.

Admission Requirements

Minimum criteria for admission:

  • Bachelor's Degree
  • 2.8 undergraduate GPA (exceptions may be granted) or current teaching license
  • International students must submit a TOEFL score of at least 500 on the paper-based exam; 173 on the computer-based exam; or 61 on the new Internet-based exam.

Helen explained. The Department usually starts 2 cohorts each fall; sometimes 3; both regular and specialized. Students come from 150-200 mile radius. Combination of classroom teachers and other professionals. Curriculum is not for licensure, but for advanced knowledge in education. Helen has discovered that the program has evolved to a point where faculty need to redefine its purpose. All students are working full time; many have been the work force for many years; constructivist approach enhances professional practaice.

Faculty from across the department deliver instruction. A cohort team of up to 6 faculty is established at the beginning of each cohort. Courses are planned by the team within the approved course outcomes. All core courses are taken by the entire group. Team leader advises through the first year; committees are assigned from the cohort team.

Lately, courses (e.g., in Tribal cohort) have had the final project embedded into the courses.

Delivery is all online after an initial face-to-face meeting at the beginning of each semester. Beginning summer 2007, all courses will be delivered using Moodle as the course management system.

Currently, stated outcomes are more course related than program related. Agreed upon goals and outcomes are missing.

Completion rates need to improve.

Jackie Millslagle, Recorder