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Family and Consumer Sciences Education

Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance

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About the Program Degree/Certificate Requirements Admission Financial Aid Faculty Technical Requirements

About the Program

The program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor's degree in a family and consumer sciences (FCS) content specialization or a related area, and are seeking initial teaching certification/licensure in family and consumer sciences. The program will offer the pedagogy (professional development) courses needed for certification/licensure. Teacher certification/licensure standards vary by state, and students must meet all the requirements in the state in which they wish to become certified. These may include additional courses in the teaching specialization, testing, and other requirements. Prior to admission, students will be required to develop a certification plan based on the standards of the state in which they want to be certified.

Demand for Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers

The online Master's Degree program was developed in response to the need to increase the supply of FCS teachers, a need that has been documented by historical data showing dramatic declines in the number of FCS teacher preparation programs and the number of individuals completing these programs. According to the most recent National Directory of the Family and Consumer Sciences Division of the Association for Career and Technical Education (2003-04), there were only 168 pre-service family and consumer sciences teacher education programs in the U.S., representing a decline of 40% during the last twenty years. Several states have only one institution that offers FCS teacher preparation and some have none.

In response to a 1990s survey by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), most state administrators reported an inadequate supply of qualified FCS teachers. The majority believed their state faced a severe shortage. The survey results showed that undergraduate enrollments in FCS teacher preparation programs would supply only about 25% of the demand for new FCS teachers. A more recent study published in 2006 confirmed that most states continue to experience a serious shortage of FCS teachers and revealed that shortages are particularly severe in rural areas. All of the states participating in the Great Plains IDEA FCS Master's Degree program reported that the supply of FCS teachers was inadequate.

Benefits of Online Courses

The format of online courses is flexible and convenient and allows distance education students the opportunity to take courses that fit into their work and home schedules. Instructors will include interactive learning experiences, such as e-mail, online chats, and threaded discussions.*

* Also known as "asynchronous web-talk," threaded discussions are a form of discussion-over-time allowing students to develop critical thinking skills, reflect on questions more carefully, and respond in an assertive and thoughtful manner.

Participating Institutions

In addition to Texas Tech University, the following Great Plains IDEA institutions participate in the program: Iowa State University, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Students may be admitted to the program at any one of the participating universities. This university becomes the student's "home" (degree-granting) university. Students will register for all courses at the home institution, although graduate faculty at any of the member institutions may teach courses.

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Master's Program - Degree Requirements

The program consists of 38-41 semester credit hours of course work, including 10 3-credit courses, 2 credits of practicum, and 6-9 credits of internship. Courses are offered over a three-year period, with at least two institutions sharing the teaching responsibility for each course. The home/degree-granting institution is responsible for placement of students for practicum and internship experiences.

The National Standards for Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences provided the framework for designing the program. The following pedagogy courses are required:

Application Requirements & Process

Texas Tech University reviews applications to the program on an ongoing basis. If you select TTU as your home/degree-granting institution, you must take the following steps to be admitted:

  1. Apply for admission to the Texas Tech Graduate School. For information on how to apply online, visit TTU Graduate Admissions.
  2. Contact the FCSE Graduate Advisor (karen.alexander@ttu.edu) to determine additional application materials that may be required by the department.
  3. Work with the FCSE Graduate Advisor to develop a certification plan and program of study. If you wish to be certified in a state other than Texas, this will require that you:
    • Contact the appropriate state agency or university FCS teacher educator in the state where you want to be certified/licensed to obtain information about the certification/licensure standards in that state.
    • Develop the certification plan and program of study and obtain approval from the appropriate certification official in the state where you wish to be certified.
    • Submit the certification plan to the FCSE Graduate Advisor.

If you have further questions please contact the Great Plains IDEA campus coordinator (leslie.mcclure@ttu.edu) or the FCSE Advisor (karen.alexander@ttu.edu).

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Financial Aid

To qualify for financial aid, all graduate students must be enrolled as fulltime students in the fall, spring, (6 hours) and summer semesters (5 hours).

FAFSA forms must be filled out for all government loan programs. This form uses last year's income. If you've had a change in circumstances (i.e., quit work to go to school, have large moving or medical expenses) contact the Texas Tech Financial Aid Office. They may be able to adjust your aid package based on this information which could not be conveyed on the forms.

You may also reach the Financial Aid Office at (806) 742-3681 or by email: finaid.advisor@ttu.edu. The fax number is (806) 742-0880.

Tuition and Fees

Students admitted to the program at Texas Tech University enroll at TTU for all courses, whether they are taught at TTU or by a participating university. All courses will have a common price of $485* per credit hour ($1,395 per 3-hour course effective Fall, 2011). There is no in-state or out-of-state tuition. This price will cover all course costs except textbook or course packet purchases.

*Common tuition rate set by Great Plains IDEA Board of Directors in connection and cooperation with participating institutions.

Course Registration

Students enroll for all courses through their home institution by contacting the Great Plains IDEA Coordinator. Students will have only one enrollment process to complete and one check to write. All coursework completed will be recorded on your home institution's transcript.

Students who have not been admitted to the Great Plains IDEA program may enroll in a course if space is available. Each course has a maximum enrollment; and those who have been admitted to a degree program at one of the participating universities will be given preference.

Classroom Instruction

Courses are taught online using a course management system accessed through your web browser. Some courses have supplemental materials on videos or CDs and others may require telephone conferencing.

The format of online courses is flexible and convenient and allows distance education students the opportunity to take courses that fit into their work and schedules. Instructors will include interactive learning experiences, such as e-mail, online chats, and threaded discussions that allow students to develop critical thinking skills, reflect on questions more carefully, and respond in an assertive and thoughtful manner.

Course Materials

As is true for other courses, textbooks and supplemental materials required for each course are the responsibility of the students.

Transcripts

The Dean of the Graduate School will maintain a transcript for students admitted to the program at Texas Tech University. Each semester, course rosters and grade sheets will be exchanged among institutions, allowing grades to be automatically recorded on your transcript at your home institution.

For more information on the Master of Science Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education leading to FCS teacher certification/licensure please contact the Great Plains IDEA Campus Coordinator at Texas Tech University. Leslie may also be reached by phone at (806) 742-3031, ext. 224.

Technical Requirements

You need a computer meeting the minimum specifications, the capability to access and download materials from the Internet and a browser equivalent to Netscape/Explorer 6.0 or newer. An e-mail address is essential as well as access to a VCR (VHS) and FAX. In order to access classes, you must set up an e-mail address using the email system at each teaching institution. For example, if you take a course taught at Iowa State, the faculty member will send email to your Iowa State email account, not to your Texas Tech (called: "e-Raider") address or to a local Internet service provide account (i.e. AOL, Yahoo, or Hotmail).

About the Faculty

Karen Alexander, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Texas Tech University. Dr. Alexander received her doctoral degree in Family Studies from The Ohio State University in 2000. Her research activities include the use of reading and writing strategies in the FCS classroom and the development and implementation of career pathway models for secondary students. She teaches methods of teaching, evaluation, and supervision, and supervises FCS student teachers and interns.

Sue Couch, Ed.D., Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Texas Tech University. Dr. Couch received her doctoral degree in Education from the University of Kentucky in 1978. Her research has focused on distance education, ethics, and issues related to gender and work and family conflicts. She teaches history and philosophy of FCSE, research methods, and administration/educational leadership.

Nora Griffin-Shirley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Leadership. Dr. Griffin-Shirley received her doctoral degree from Georgia State University in 1993. Dr. Griffin-Shirley's area of expertise is orientation and mobility of persons with visual impairments. She teaches courses related to exceptional children and youth.

Effie Laman, Ed.D., Visiting Professor of Educational Psychology and Leadership. Dr. Laman Received her doctoral degree from Texas Tech University in 2006. Her research has focused on transition issues of students who are deafblind and vocational training for persons who are either deafblind or deaf in developing countries. She is currently working on the Validation for Functional Hearing Inventory for children who are deafblind and infants who have not passed their infant hearing screening. She is also interested in appropriate teaching strategies for students who have cochlear implants where English language is not the spoken language at home and without an intact language. She teaches generic special education, deaf\hard of hearing, deafblind, and single subject design courses.

Peggy Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Johnson received her doctoral degree from the University of Florida in 1993. She teaches in the area of language literacy.

The Great Plains IDEA Memorandum of Agreement ensures that all faculty who teach courses at the participating institutions meet the qualifications for graduate faculty at their respective institutions.

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