Willamette Initiates Innovative Teacher Training Program

In August, the Willamette University School of Education will launch MAT Aspire, a two-year program with evening and weekend classes for teachers who seek a master's degree in early childhood, elementary, middle level or high school education.

"We want to reach those educators who need a non-traditional approach to earning a master's degree," said Karen Hamlin, director of the School of Education. "Classes meet one night a week and one Saturday per month. We also hope the schedule will appeal to a more diverse applicant pool.

"MAT Aspire combines a flexible course structure with innovative classes that integrate technology with teacher development," Hamlin added. "The program will also enable candidates to receive credit toward their degree for past work and volunteer experiences in schools. I think these aspects of MAT Aspire will be particularly appealing for instructional assistants or parent volunteers who have prior school experience."

MAT Aspire will carry the same course work and practicum requirements found in the School of Education's full-time program. Students will need to pass the Oregon required Basic Skills Test prior to application but will be able to pass their content tests during the first year of the program.

Applications for the MAT Aspire program are now available. Classes begin in September. For more information about MAT Aspire, contact Charlie Bowles at 503-375-5453 or visit the School of Education's web site at