Innovative Education Outside the Classroom
Teaching and learning happens all the time in places other than schools. When you drop your children off at day care, step into a museum or meet your friends for a hike at a state park, you’re likely to see professionals who are using teaching skills as part of their daily jobs.
A multitude of careers outside the classroom rely on innovative educators who have the skills and relevant experience in education, management, marketing, and technology. Employers at museums, non-profit agencies, community based organizations and government agencies are eager to hire people who have an education background with a wider range of skills and who have work experiences in similar organizations.
Responding to this need, UMSL’s College of Education has created an innovative, flexible, and inter-disciplinary bachelor’s degree that emphasizes practical skills in multiple settings. The newly designed Bachelor of Education Studies (BES) degree is perfect for students who are excited about education as a career but are looking for challenges outside the traditional classroom.
Flexibility is built in to the program, allowing students to choose emphasis areas and tailor coursework to align with specific career aspirations. “We’ve included courses from across the university,” said Carl Hoagland, program coordinator for the BES. “The list of courses is amazingly diverse. Students are likely to find themselves in a digital multimedia production class, social media marketing, business ethics, or social work – it all depends on their chosen emphasis area.”
The BES currently offers three emphasis areas, or “strands” that prepare students to become innovative educators with specific skills for careers as managers and directors, program planners, curriculum developers, and education coordinators, among others. Students can choose one of three emphasis areas:
- Informal Science & Cultural Education, for students seeking careers as leaders in museums or science centers, wildlife conservation agencies and parks;
- Human Services and Development, for those interested in careers in public policy, government-sponsored or community based agencies such as a YMCA, older adult services, or youth service organizations;
- Early Childhood Education for students interested in careers working with young children in early childhood programs or day care centers. Students can earn specific credentials, as needed, for their individual career goals (note: the BES with Early Childhood emphasis does not require traditional state teacher certification.)
The conundrum that graduates often face when looking for work is employers who seek high skill levels yet require relevant experience. Hoagland said key goals of the BES were to offer internship opportunities that insure students end up with a resumes that will grab employers’ attention, or for students already working, enhance their ability to grow into new positions.
“The real flexibility and practicality of the program is the internship opportunities,” said Hoagland. “We will work with students to place them in an organization that dovetails with their career goals. And if they’re already working at an agency or organization, then we’ll work with their employer to design an internship that fits their degree and career goals.”
Students who want a broad view of education and who seek careers that help people learn, grow and understand will be particularly interested in UMSL’s BES degree. Fall classes for the BES are now forming. For information talk to an advisor in the Office of Advising and Student Services in the College of Education at 314-516-5937 or online here.
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