MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

December 23, 2017 

Mayville State’s first-ever master’s degree assists with the state’s teacher shortage

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved Mayville State University’s request to offer a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in the fall of 2016, and classes in the program began in the fall of 2016. This is Mayville State’s first master’s degree program, and our first graduate completed her coursework at the end of the fall semester. She’ll participate in commencement exercises in May.

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree provides a graduate-level teacher preparation program for non-teaching bachelor’s degree graduates seeking to become licensed teachers in North Dakota. This degree program directly impacts the teacher shortage crisis in North Dakota. The completely online program is designed for people who have a non-teaching bachelor’s degree and are interested in entering the teaching profession. The MAT program offers flexibility and affordability for adult learners.

The North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) is responding to the shortage of teachers by providing alternate licensures to individuals with bachelor’s degrees who will need to complete teacher education courses within a specified timeline to continue licensure in the state. The MAT program provides a rigorous curriculum focused on research-based, high-yield educational practices. The degree provides professional-level training, increases the teacher’s salary due to lane changes, and increases the number of master’s degree-holding teachers in North Dakota, addressing the teacher shortage areas across the state.

Continued growth and service to North Dakota are priorities in the programs offered by Mayville State University. The addition of the Master of Arts in Teaching to Mayville State University’s well-established teacher preparation programs provides another option for entry-level professionals to begin teaching careers in North Dakota.

The MAT program consists of 32 credits and provides options for those who hold bachelor’s degrees to obtain professional teaching degrees while maintaining employment. The MAT program is standards-based to support secondary teacher certification requirements of the ESPB and is designed to support the development of teacher-leaders.

Adding qualified teachers to the workforce is the goal of MSU’s MAT program. The North Dakota Department of Commerce has acknowledged pre-school, elementary, middle school, and secondary teacher shortages across the state.

The MAT program supports two types of learners interested in teaching. The first are those who already have an Alternative Access license, are employed by a school districts, and need to gain the credentials through online course programming to apply for full teacher licensure in North Dakota. The second group of learners are those who will complete MAT program courses followed by a Teaching Mentorship Clinic Experience prior to seeking licensure. The MAT program provides grounded study on teaching, learning, and leadership to support the successful MAT graduate in today’s workforce.

Teacher education has been a major focus of the Mayville State mission throughout the institution’s 128-year history and we are happy to have had the opportunity to add the MAT program and take our service to the state to the next level. Founded as a normal school in 1889, Mayville State University has produced many qualified teachers. Based on a five-year average, 80 percent of these graduates choose to stay and teach in the state of North Dakota. Mayville State currently teaches graduate courses in Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and provides graduate-level continuing education to professional educators.

For more information at Mayville State’s MAT program, contact Andi Dulski-Bucholz, dean and chair of the Division of Education, at or 701-788-4833.