13:19 PM

UST professors collaborate with TCCB so Catholic school teachers can fulfill continuing education requirements

The University of St. Thomas-Houston School of Education and Human Services and the Catholic Studies program are launching an exciting new Graduate Certificate in Catholic Teacher Development program in response to a requirement that K-12 teachers in Catholic schools complete such continuing education.

University of St. Thomas-Houston Director of the Ed.D program Dr. Jon Kirwan, who developed the new Certificate program with Director of Catholic Studies Dr. Kevin Stuart and Associate Director of Catholic Studies Dr. Thomas Harmon, clarified the problem and the opportunity.

Identifying the Problem

“Many dioceses are having a difficult time getting their Catholic school teachers the continuing education credits required by various episcopal conferences,” Dr. Kirwan said. “It’s time-consuming to search for and apply to graduate programs in education for only four courses, and often it can be quite expensive. At UST, we saw an opportunity to meet a higher education demand and solve a problem.”

Undaunted, the University tackled both issues.

Collaboration Leads to Solution

Dr. Harmon said, “We developed our new Graduate Certificate in Catholic Teacher Development program in close collaboration with Dr. Lisette Allen at the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops Education Department. We aimed to find a way for Texas Catholic school teachers to get their credits as quickly and affordably as possible.”

The program was designed to include a streamlined application and enrollment process, an affordable tuition structure, and specially tailored course offerings in a 100% online format.

“We’re excited about this program because it’s unique in American Catholic K-12 education,” Harmon said.

Four courses totaling 12 credit hours and designed to be completed in a year or longer make up the program: Educating the Human Person, Classroom Management, The Catholic School, and Curriculum & Assessment. The entire program can be finished for less than $5,000, and the first class begins in the fall of 2023.

“By collaborating with the TCCB to create an affordable certificate program that is easy to get into, easy to complete, and delivered through online live evening classes dedicated to Texas Catholic school teachers, we believe we’ve solved problems in the Catholic school community,” Dr. Stuart added.

Professors Who Can Relate

Yet another benefit to the program is the instructors who will teach the courses. All of them work in Texas Catholic schools or dioceses and are designing their courses to address the needs and challenges faced by Catholic school teachers. Among the instructors will be the director of the TCCB Education Department, Lisette Allen, and assistant superintendent for the Catholic Schools Office at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Angela Johnson.

Teachers who earn UST’s Certificate will be in compliance with the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops Education Department requirements. Not only that but their credits can be applied toward a master’s degree if they choose.

In other good news, UST plans to launch a similar program for Catholic school principals and administrators, who are also required to earn continuing education credits.