Florida State University’s College of Education has joined forces with the Peace Corps to develop a graduate program that will incorporate two years of international volunteer service. The Peace Corps Master’s International Program in Education is recruiting its first group of students for the Fall 2008 semester.
“The program enables us to offer interested college graduates—prospective teachers, new bachelor’s degree holders seeking professional experience, or working adults thinking about a career change—the opportunity to gain graduate-level expertise in a subject matter area and in its application to international education, and then to experience a new culture and share their knowledge, curiosity and enthusiasm with people in developing countries,” said Pamela “Sissi” Carroll, chairwoman of FSU’s Department of Middle and Secondary Education, one of the two academic units collaborating on the project.
Students will be assigned to English, mathematics or science-education teaching positions in one of the 70 countries of Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America where the Peace Corps presently operates, Carroll said.
The goals of this innovative program are to:
- provide students with the knowledge and associated skills to effectively teach and/or train teachers at the secondary level in the United States or abroad;
- equip students with in-depth knowledge of the profound ways in which cultural context affects teaching and learning, as well as new methods for understanding environments radically different from their own;
- offer students an academic environment that ultimately will increase their effectiveness as cross-cultural ambassadors;
- enhance cross-cultural learning and international understanding at FSU while supporting better understanding of American culture by counterparts in host nations; and
- enable participants to move on to valuable jobs in both the U.S. educational system and overseas and/or continue graduate study in specialty areas that will increase the ability to contribute to international harmony and development.
The initiative is a joint effort between two branches of the FSU College of Education: the Programs in Science Education, English Education and Mathematics Education of the Department of Middle and Secondary Education, and the Program in Sociocultural and International Development Education Studies (SIDES) within the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. SIDES offers master’s and doctoral degrees in international development and education.
Students will spend a full academic year at FSU taking core courses in teaching methods and international education before their required two-year service in the Peace Corps. Upon returning, they will complete their program of study and serve as mentors to incoming students in the program.
“The students will come back to campus to finish their degrees, filled with a world of new insights,” Carroll said. “They will enrich classroom discussions, creating a continuing and incredibly positive, productive cycle of education and growth. And they will be well positioned for critically important careers.”
Peace Corps Master’s International graduates will be qualified for teaching and administrative positions in both U.S. and international schools upon completion of their studies and will have the global perspective required to make a mark, Carroll added.
The Peace Corps was formed in 1961 to promote world peace and friendship. Its goals are to help the people of interested countries in meeting the need for trained men and women, help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, and help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
More information about the Master’s International Program in Education can be obtained at www.fsu.edu/~elps/sides/pcmi.html, or by contacting program coordinators Jeffrey Milligan at (850) 644-6777 or Pamela “Sissi” Carroll at (850) 644-6553.