School of Education and Child Development

New program offers Drury education students a fast track to a master’s degree

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 19, 2017 — Drury University’s School of Education and Child Development is offering a new option for students to complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years.

The “4+1” program makes it possible for academically qualified and motivated students to begin their 36-hour master’s degree while still an undergraduate, saving them both time and money. Drury is one of the only colleges in the state of Missouri to offer such an option.

“Earning a master’s degree is a natural extension of the contemporary teacher’s professional development, leading to mastery in specialized areas of education, improved job prospects and a significant increase in compensation throughout the educator’s career,” says Dr. Asikaa Cosgrove, assistant professor of education and the director of graduate programs for the School of Education. “The concurrent credit program offers a seamless transition into graduate study, giving new teachers the opportunity to reach a higher level of preparation and competence without the difficulties of having to readjust to a return to college after years in the workforce.”

How the program works

Working closely with advisors, eligible undergraduate students may enroll in up to 9 credit hours of selected graduate courses from the master in education programs while still pursing a bachelor’s degree. Successful completion of these courses will earn both undergraduate credit toward the bachelor’s degree and graduate credit toward a master’s degree.

Students typically complete bachelor’s degree coursework in four years. They will then take the remaining 27 hours of graduate coursework during the subsequent three or four semesters (the typical sequence is summer, fall, and spring semesters).

The School of Education offers bachelor’s programs in Elementary and Secondary Education and a variety of graduate degrees with a range of specialization areas. For the 4+1 program, students can choose from one of two master’s degree programs: Curriculum and Instruction (elementary, middle, or secondary), or Integrated Learning.

More details about eligibility requirements, course schedules, and tuition structures are available at Drury.edu/education.

###

Media Contact: Dr. Asikaa Cosgrove, Director of Graduate Programs – School of Education and Child Development: (417) 837-7806 or acosgrove@drury.edu.

Education professor studies George Washington Carver on sabbatical

As a someone who teaches future teachers, Dr. Ed Williamson has always been fascinated with one of America’s most storied educators: George Washington Carver.

“(Carver) was born into slavery in the 1860s,” Williamson explains. “Then he contended with all the racism and prejudice of the day, eventually becoming arguably the most well-educated African-American of his time and a world-renowned scientist, inventor and humanitarian.”

Williamson has taught in Drury’s School of Education and Child Development since 1999. His work teaching courses on science instruction led him to build a connection with the staff at the George Washington Carver National Monument outside Diamond, where he would often take students on field trips.

When it came time to take a sabbatical this year, Williamson knew he wanted to spend it at the pastoral Carver Monument – in the archive and in the field as volunteer park ranger.

Williamson at the Carver National Monument site.

Williamson at the Carver National Monument site.

His research focused on the early years of Carver’s life and education. He used primary sources from the Monument’s archive, as well as secondary sources derived from oral histories and a swath of existing scholarship.

Williamson came to know the resiliency of the young Carver, who he says had an “I can” outlook on life from early on. Carver’s thirst for knowledge led him to leave his adoptive home at age 12 and go to school in nearby Neosho, never to return.

The research also led Williamson to a man named Stephen Frost. Frost was Carver’s first formal teacher at the Neosho Colored School. Carver left not long after arriving there, however.

“The story was that Carver was there about six months before he realized his new more than his teacher and then left,” William says. “But as I got more in depth, Frost became more interesting to me.”

Frost had only learned to read and write a few years before teaching in Neosho. He may not have had much formal education himself, but he was doing what he could.

“He was giving back what little he had,” Williams said.

Frost has a connection to present-day Drury, too. He came to Springfield in the late 1870s and became a pastor at the historically black Washington Avenue Baptist Church. That church is now the Diversity Center on campus. He returned to the Neosho Colored School a few years later and finished out his career there, teaching an entire generation of black students in that area.

As for Carver, his “I can” attitude in many ways matches the current push to teach perseverance and “grit” to youth. Researching that arc of achievement led Williamson to admire his subject even more.

“We ought to use George Washington Carver as the prime example of overcoming adversity and being resilient,” he says.

Carver eventually earned two degrees from what is now Iowa State University and was recruited to teach at the Tuskegee Institute in 1896 – the same year the Supreme Court made “separate but equal” the law of the land. He died in 1943, a decade before that precedent was overturned.

“So his entire career was under that shadow,” Williamson said. “It’s really remarkable what he was able to do, even with all the handicapping social conditions he faced.”

Williamson has lectured about his research once already at the Carver Monument and will do so again this November on the Drury campus.

###

Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.