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Master’s programs provide new opportunities: Two progressive new programs prepare students for high-demand careers

Master’s programs provide new opportunities: Two progressive new programs prepare students for high-demand careers

By Jennifer Meers Jones ’08
UMHB graduate programs are expanding to include two new degrees preparing graduates for careers currently in high demand in the community. Classes for the Master of Education in Administration of Intervention Programs (with preparation for educational diagnostician certifi cation) start this June. The Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner track will begin classes this fall.

The College of Education revamped its current Education Psychology track to meet the increasing need for trained interventionists who can serve in leadership roles for intervention programs.

“Many schools have interventionists, but no one is really trained how to run these programs, how to put all the pieces together, and how to administer professional development for those teachers whose students need special assistance,” said Dr. Karen Estes, associate professor and director of the master’s program in education.

The revamping was recommended by professor Kris Ward, who previously worked with the Region XII Education Service Center. As Ward and Estes began researching master’s degrees focused specifically on administering intervention programs, they discovered nothing comparable in Texas.

“This program will offer graduates training and skills in areas that are needed by the public schools, but are not provided elsewhere in the state,” Estes said.

The 36-hour cohort program will be offered in an alternative delivery format that includes five core courses in common with the other M.Ed. programs. During the fall and spring semesters, students will attend class one Saturday a month and one night a week and will participate in one online course. Students will take three courses each summer, which include online work and three, week-long sessions in the classroom (one week a month). The program is designed to be completed in just 15 months.

Dr. Margaret Prydun, professor and director of the master’s program in nursing, said the Family Nurse Practitioner track was developed in response to overwhelming demand within the community. The only Central Texas school offering a similar program is the University of Texas at Austin.

“We have received a tremendous number of calls from people who have wanted an FNP program here,” she said. “Becoming a family nurse practitioner really broadens a nurse’s horizons. FNPs can leave the hospital setting, they can open their own clinics, they can work out in rural settings, they can do missions work. They are direct providers of care, as opposed to regular nurses who work under the direction of a physician.”

The first year of the 48-hour program includes core coursework, with students beginning the nurse practitioner track the second year. The program is designed to allow students to maintain a full-time job while pursuing their master’s degree.

“We expect our students to continue to work as nurses,” Prydun said. “We meet on campus once a month, and the rest of the coursework is done online. The classes are clustered so they meet back-to-back one weekend; that way students only have to take off one period of time each month. We hope the program’s alternative delivery is an attractive option for those wanting to further their education.”

For more information on graduate programs, please contact the director of graduate admissions Rachel Haynes at or 254 295 4020.

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