Master of Education

Master of Education

The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts offers a Master of Education is designed to prepare licensure and non-licensure candidates as K-12 school leaders. This program is taught by faculty with deep experience as school leaders at every level, including charter schools, alternative schools and district offices. The program of study combines practicum courses in which candidates engage in the work of school leadership and classroom based course work focused on the practical and applied lessons of leaders in the field, and enriched by the quality and experience of the students we attract. Those who complete this program graduate not just prepared to be a school leader, but ready to lead in the field.

General Information
Regulations & Requirements
Tuition & Financial Aid
Testimonials

General Information

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Education program is to develop transformational school leaders who will improve instructional capacity and student achievement.

Licensure-Only Option for Aspiring School Leaders

Candidates who have already obtained a Master’s degree in Education and wish to pursue “Licensure-only” can complete 18 minimum hours of the M.Ed. program, following a course of study designed with an advisor. Candidates must also pass the SLLA Praxis exam in order to be recommended for the Instructional Leadership License - Beginning (ILL-B).  Licensure only candidates will be required to meet the same admission requirements and criteria as degree-seeking candidates. These requirements are set by the TN State Department of Education (SDE) and are required for all leadership candidates.

The School of Education and Public Service offers an M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership designed to prepare licensure and non-licensure candidates as K-12 school leaders. The program offers two concentrations: Instructional Leadership (Licensure) and Instructional Coaching/Teacher Leadership (Non-Licensure). A core set of courses in educational leadership, legal & diversity issues, and data assessment are followed by differentiated coursework in one of the two concentrations. The Master of Education in Instructional Leadership was instituted in the Fall of 2012.

Cumberland University's Master of Education (Instructional Leadership) M.Ed. underwent a review by the Tennessee Department of Education and met or exceeded expectations for every standard. This comprehensive review of all Instructional Leadership programs was completed by a committee of State Board of Education and select representatives from Institutions of Higher Education; the full report can viewed here. Our strong showing is testament to our Faculty's hard work, dedication, and proven records of effective leadership in K-12 schools.

All of CU's Education Master's programs in Education are Accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, the standard of excellence for Teacher Education Programs.

Graduate School Requirements and Criteria

In addition to the general Graduate Enrollment and Financial Services, the following is required for students entering the Master of Education in Instructional Leadership program.

  • Applicants for the M.Ed. degree program must have been awarded an earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Applicants must also hold a valid teaching license
  • Cumberland University online application ($50 application fee)
  • Official transcripts sent from all previously attended colleges and universities
  • GPA in Bachelor's degree of at least 2.75, or 3.00 in previous Master's programs
  • Three dispositions rating forms completed by district-level administrator or educators
  • Employment by a TN school district (County/district must have partnership agreement on file with the School of Education & Public Service at Cumberland University)
  • A current résumé
  • Demonstration of effective oral and written communications skills
  • A minimum of three years of successful working experience prior to starting the program. (Licensure Track)

 

  • Portfolio required for applicants to the licensure track.
  • District Support Letter for Candidate Admissions (form letter can be downloaded from the program website) signed by the Director of Schools or a designee.
  • Successful completion of an interview conducted by a program admission committee that includes both P-12 instructional leaders and higher education faculty that can determine if the candidate has
  1. Implemented innovative learning strategies in his/her classrooms
  2. Shown good communications, human relations, and organizational skills
  3. Used student data and work samples to make instructional decisions
  4. Demonstrated high ethical standards.
  • Other requirements as stipulated by the Tennessee Department of Education for admission to instructional leadership programs are required and described on the program's website.

 

Course Delivery

Course delivery will consist of on-site (face-to-face), hybrid, and online classes with some evening and/or weekend sessions required. Many of the courses in the M.Ed. program are paired with practicum-based courses that include job-embedded experiences in collaboration with principals, coaches, or other school leadership. There is a fee associated with these courses.

Cumberland University rules and regulations are found in institution specific documents including the graduate catalog, the Cumberland University Student Handbook and the Instructional Leadership Handbook. The information found in these documents applies to M.Ed. Candidates. These regulations include, but are not limited to, registration, schedule changes, withdrawal from class and/or the university, graduation participation, grade-point average requirements, release of information, student services, class availability, use of English, class attendance/preparation, grade reports, enrollment certification/verification, change of name/address, and academic misconduct.

 

Graduation Requirements

Candidates must complete the following requirements to earn the Master of Education degree in Instructional Leadership at Cumberland University. Each candidate must successfully complete the required 30 semester hours of graduate coursework for the M.Ed. within seven calendar years from the date of entry as a degree-seeking student. All candidates must be in good academic standing to meet graduation requirements (see above). Each candidate must successfully complete the Oral Comprehensive Examination. A passing score for this examination is the equivalent of 80% or higher on each portion of the examination. Each candidate must receive the recommendation (approval) from the Graduate Studies Council of Cumberland University indicating this student to be representative of the high ideals of the graduate studies program of Cumberland University. Each candidate must file an Intent to Graduate form, pay the required graduation fees, and may participate in the Commencement Ceremonies. Participation is no longer required. Licensure Candidates must take and pass the Praxis SLLA exam prior to graduation.

 

Licensure Only

The Instructional Leadership (Licensure) concentration is designed to prepare candidates seeking licensure as beginning administrators under the Tennessee Learning Centered Leadership Policy. More information concerning the leadership redesign can be found at http://www.tnelc.org/. Candidates completing the K-12 Instructional Leadership concentration must successfully pass the Praxis SLLA Exam (required for the ILL-B License - Test Code 6011) to obtain both the M.Ed. degree and licensure. Approved Instructional Leadership preparation programs are required that all candidate applicants hold a current teacher's License, have a minimum of three years of successful education working experience, and submit a confidential application portfolio that contains the following:

 

Admission Criteria

  • Three dispositions rating forms completed by district-level administrator or educator,
  • Employment by a TN school district (County/district must have partnership agreement1 on file with the School of Education & Public Service at Cumberland University),
  • A current résumé
  • Demonstration of effective oral and written communications skills2,
  • Successful completion of an interview2 conducted by a program admission committee that includes both K-12 instructional leaders and higher education faculty that can determine if the candidate has
  1. Implemented innovative learning strategies in his/her classrooms;
  2. Shown good communications, human relations, and organizational skills;
  3. Used student data and work samples to make instructional decisions; and
  4. Demonstrated high ethical standards.

Portfolio Requirements

  • A copy of the TN SDE Experience Verification Form signed by the appropriate LEA personnel (http://www.state.tn.us/education/lic/doc/ed2034a.pdf);
  • Copy of the most recent performance appraisal/evaluation
  • Current professional development plan with goals to improve performance, pursuant to last evaluation,
  • Evidence of ability to improve student achievement and also demonstrated leadership in coaching other teachers to raise student achievement1,
  • Evidence of knowledge about curriculum, instruction and assessment

 

  • A personal statement of career goals and how the preparation program would assist the candidate in reaching stated goals,
  • Recommendations as specified in partnership agreement,
  • Evidence that describes qualities of collaboration, cooperation and relationship building

Recommended

  • Challenged students through rigorous, standards-based teaching
  • Integrated technology into daily teaching
  • Worked collaboratively on teaching/learning issues with teaching teams
  • Analyzed research and applied it to practice
  • Demonstrated leadership in the larger community
  • Demonstrated the ability to articulate and implement a vision.
  • Shown commitment to continuous improvement
  • Shown evidence of leadership and management potential, including evidence of most recent accomplishments in the area of instructional leadership1
  • Provide for joint screening by university/non-higher education program provider and school system leaders with assessment tools
  • Conduct observations and videos of classroom and peer teaching

1 The evidence and documentation shall be developed collaboratively between districts and university/non-higher education program providers. Please use the Evaluation Rubric for TILS.

Interview Requirement – During the interview, the candidate must be prepared to discuss how he or she has a working knowledge and track record of implementing the Tennessee Instructional Leadership Standards. A case-study analysis writing sample will be completed on campus during interview visit. Prompt will be based on concentration.

Candidates enrolled in the M.Ed. program will be engaged in assessments that are based on NCATE, ISSLLC and TIL standards underlying the core curriculum for instructional leaders. The continued development of the portfolio throughout the M.Ed. program will afford candidates opportunities for reflection and self-evaluation. The portfolio should serve as a way to highlight expertise and competence that will be used to gain future employment as a K-12 administrator. To complete the program, licensure-seeking candidates must complete an oral defense of their portfolio in the last semester of work. The defense of the portfolio, and its artifacts, shall function as the comprehensive exam for all leadership candidates seeking the ILL-B Administrative License.

Admission Regulations & Requirements

Tuition & Financial Aid

Licensure Only

The Instructional Leadership (Licensure) concentration is designed to prepare candidates seeking licensure as beginning administrators under the Tennessee Learning Centered Leadership Policy. More information concerning the leadership redesign can be found at http://www.tnelc.org/. Candidates completing the K-12 Instructional Leadership concentration must successfully pass the Praxis SLLA Exam (required for the ILL-B License - Test Code 6011) to obtain both the M.Ed. degree and licensure. Approved Instructional Leadership preparation programs are required that all candidate applicants hold a current Teacher's License, have a minimum of three years of successful education working experience, and submit a confidential application portfolio that contains the following:

 

Admission Criteria

  • Three dispositions rating forms completed by district-level administrator or educator,
  • Employment by a TN school district (County/district must have partnership agreement on file with the School of Education & Public Service at Cumberland University),
  • A current résumé
  • Demonstration of effective oral and written communications skills,
  • Successful completion of an interview conducted by a program admission committee that includes both K-12 instructional leaders and higher education faculty that can determine if the candidate has:
    • Implemented innovative learning strategies in their classrooms;
    • Shown good communications, human relations, and organizational skills;
    • Used student data and work samples to make instructional decisions; and
    • Demonstrated high ethical standards.

 

Portfolio Requirements

  • A copy of the TN SDE Experience Verification Form signed by the appropriate LEA personnel (http://www.state.tn.us/education/lic/doc/ed2034a.pdf);
  • Copy of the most recent performance appraisal/evaluation,
  • Current professional development plan with goals to improve performance, pursuant to last evaluation,
  • Evidence of ability to improve student achievement and also demonstrated leadership in coaching other teachers to raise student achievement.

Tuition:

  • $515 per credit hour.
  • $100 per semester practicum fee.
  •  Financial aid.
  • Employer tuition assistance accepted.

Testimonials

"Cumberland University’s Masters in Instructional Leadership is an exceptional program that thoroughly prepared me to serve in an administrative role. Not only did the program teach me how to be an instructional leader through data analysis and best practice research, it taught me how to collaborate with stakeholders and problem solve through some of today’s most important educational topics. The staff at Cumberland is fantastic and are always willing to assist in any way necessary. It’s truly like a “family,” and I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to continue my education here."- Kelly Bugg, Class of 2018

"When I reflect on my years in Cumberland University's graduate program, I am confident that the experience made me a better educator and also prepared me in a multitude of ways for my career.  The staff was highly energetic and always willing to help, and they were just a phone call away if I needed guidance.  I sincerely recommend Cumberland University's Graduate Program to anyone who is wanting to advance their degree."-Deanne Roney, Class of 2018

CU AT A GLANCE

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