The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program in the School of Education at the University of Indianapolis is designed to prepare secondary teachers for professional service and leadership. The curriculum emphasizes the knowledge, dispositions, and skills required of the professional secondary teacher.
Candidates with an undergraduate degree in a content area complete a comprehensive program designed to ensure that they know how to teach adolescents; that they think systematically about their practices and learn from their experiences; that they consider themselves members of a learning community devoted to best practices in teaching and effective classroom management; and that they express a strong commitment to students and learning.
The program consists of 36 semester hours, which are taken over a two-year period including the intervening summer. Candidates register for a minimum of five hours per semester, which ensures eligibility for student loan programs. The candidates accepted in the program each fall form cohorts and remain within their cohorts for the entire program. The program is designed for persons already holding a degree in a content area. Applicants' credentials/educational backgrounds are evaluated and if content area deficiencies exist, they must be addressed. Any required content hours are not included within the hours of the MAT program. The program is structured to meet the needs of adult learners; classes are offered in the evenings and on Saturdays. However, the clinical practice semester demands special sacrifices from the candidates. The internship is a full-time obligation. Candidates must plan to take a leave of absence from their employment. Candidates receive no compensation for the clinical practice internship and should make allowances for the loss of income.
The program is structured using the "cohort" concept with all of the advantages of that configuration. Members of a cohort encounter a common set of learning experiences and opportunities to share reflections on those experiences. They provide one another insights based upon a collection of perspectives, set up patterns of collaborative behaviors, and develop contacts that may be sustained over time. The diversity within the cohort enables the achievement of a broader understanding of adolescence and teaching and establishes the foundation and dispositions necessary for building and maintaining a community of learners.