M.S. Equity and Diversity in Education handbook

Thank you for your interest in our master’s degree program in Equity and Diversity in Education! The education of individuals with diverse learning and cultural backgrounds is an area of intense attention in research and policy today. Schools and various other employers seek personnel who are qualified to work effectively with a broad range of individuals.

 

Introduction

The master’s program in Equity and Diversity in Education (EDE) offers advanced study on use of inclusive methods to serve diverse learners in the classroom and beyond. This program allows educators and those in related fields to enhance their knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work more effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Multiple dimensions of human diversity are addressed through the program’s course work, with special attention to race/ethnicity, gender, national origin, language, sexual identity and social class.

Candidates for the EDE master’s program may choose between two strands: (1) Equity and Diversity in Education or (2) Language Education.

  1. Equity and Diversity in Education (EDE) prepares education professionals and educators to advocate for and support the academic and social needs of students from culturally diverse In addition to developing a foundational understanding of issues of equity and diversity through the core classes, students may choose several electives based on their interests.
  2. The Language Education (LE) strand focuses on multilingual learners. More specifically, this strand prepares education professionals and teachers to adopt culturally and linguistically responsive approaches to support the needs of multilingual learners in school-based and out-of-school. Candidates may choose to earn an ELAD (English Language Acquisition and Development) endorsement for 12 specified credits within this program. Individuals without a K-12 teaching license, who might wish to work with adults whose first language is not English or with non-English-speaking individuals abroad, may earn a Graduate Certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Program course work, which consists of a minimum of 30 credits, is intended for practicing educators and others who work with diverse learners, especially in education/training-oriented positions. A teaching license is neither required to enter this program nor granted by earning a degree in this program.

This master’s program offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree. The degree may be completed as a hybrid program that combines face-to-face courses with some online courses or as a fully online program.

 

Program goals, foundational concepts and student learning outcomes

Program goals

  • To prepare educators and individuals in related fields to work effectively with people of diverse social identities, including race, ethnicity, gender, language, and sexual identity.
  • To engage in focused study of one or two areas of emphasis, such as multicultural education, a content area such as literacy or mathematics, and/or ESL/TESOL (among other options).
  • To prepare educators who possess a love of learning, value democracy and multiculturalism, develop strong and evolving funds of knowledge, and engage in reflective practice.

Foundational concepts

This program is designed to target five main foundational concepts that are infused across program coursework. These areas of focus are derived from key guide organizations in the field of teacher education and equity and diversity. (Source organizations appear in parentheses below.) Accordingly, graduates of this program are intended to be able to:

  • Respect and value cultural diversity. (ATE, NAME, NEA, OECD)
  • Possess knowledge and understanding of cultural and ethnic identities locally and globally. (ATE, NAME, NEA, OECD, UNESCO)
  • Interact respectfully with individuals from diverse backgrounds and function appropriately in various cultures. (NAME, NEA, OECD, UNESCO)
  • Design culturally and linguistically inclusive and respectful curricula and learning experiences, while providing high-quality education and holding high expectations for all students. (ATE, NAME, NCATE, UNESCO)
  • Interact with diverse classmates and faculty during the program. (ATE, NCATE)
  • Create learning environments and conditions that support the teaching and learning of multilingual students across the lifespan. (TESOL)
  • Critically engage in analyzing recent policies and practices pertaining to the education of multilingual learners. (TESOL)

Source organizations for foundational concepts

  • Association of Teacher Educators (ATE)
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME)
  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association
  • American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL)

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of equity and diversity in education.
  2. Students will demonstrate an ability to apply research and theory on equity and diversity in education to practice and to conduct critical self-analysis of that practice.
  3. Students will demonstrate dispositions appropriate to equity and diversity in education.
  4. Students will display writing skills that are scholarly, culturally sensitive and mechanically correct.

 Additional SLOs for the language education strand

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of how languages are learned and acquired.
  2. Students will plan and implement culturally and linguistically responsive curricula and assessment that address the needs of multilingual learners.
  3. Students will collaborate with other stakeholders to advocate and support multilingual learners and their families.

Contact Information:

Eleni Oikonomidoy, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director
eleni@unr.edu
(775) 682-7865

 

Program admission

Requirements

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 overall or 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate study. (Exceptions may be made based on the strength of the overall application materials.)
  • Experience in education or a related field, and/or a teaching license.
    • Please note that experience in education or the equivalent can take many forms, including experience in school and non-school settings and work with adults, college students, youth groups, and others. If you have any questions about your background experience, you may contact the Program Director, Dr. Eleni Oikonomidoy at eleni@unr.edu.
  • The GRE is not required for admission.
  • In some cases, students may be admitted under a prescribed program if their application materials are deemed marginal by program faculty. This probationary program involves taking prescribed initial courses planned with the student’s assigned advisor or the Program Director. Performance on the prescribed courses will be used to determine whether the student will gain regular admission into the program.

Steps for admission

Applications are accepted year-round but might be reviewed more promptly during the academic year from mid-August through mid-May.

Apply for admission to the Graduate School

Select “Equity and Diversity in Education” as your major.

If you wish to begin course work while awaiting acceptance to the program, you may apply to the Graduate School for admission as a “Graduate Special” student. This status, which involves completing an application and paying a one-time fee, allows you to take a limited number of graduate credits that may apply to your master’s degree program. Consult with a program advisor before registering for classes as a “Graduate Special” student. International students are not eligible for Graduate Special status.

Graduate courses taken prior to application to the program might count toward the program once admitted if, upon university and program review, the courses are deemed transferrable and appropriate to the program. Note that the first course counted starts the six-year time period in which students must finish their master’s degree.

Required application materials to submit to the Equity and Diversity in Education program include:

  1. An application form that provides us with your contact information and your specific area(s) of interest.
  2. A signed professional dispositions form, which lists our values as a program.
  3. Two letters of recommendation completed by individuals who know your professional and/or academic These can be handled electronically by listing names and contact information on the Graduate School’s online application form. (The Graduate School will provide completed letters of recommendation to the Equity and Diversity in Education program.)
  4. A professional
  5. A brief essay (about 2-3 single-spaced pages) describing your perspectives on equity and diversity in education and/or language education. Also, explain why you would like to pursue this degree. This essay introduces you to the application review committee and allows the committee to assess your degree of fit with the program, gain insight into your writing skills, and identify a faculty advisor that matches your area(s) of interest.

If you cannot submit your materials online, you may send them to:
Equity & Diversity in Education Master’s Program
College of Education & Human Development/299
University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89557-0299

For assistance with the application process, please contact Eleni Oikonomidoy at eleni@unr.edu.

The faculty of the Equity and Diversity in Education Master’s Degree program consider the entire application package of an individual in making admissions decisions. All submitted documentation of an ability to successfully complete masters-level work is evaluated: undergraduate grade point average and types of courses taken, the letter of intent and resume, and letters of recommendation. You may be admitted to the program on a regular program basis, in which you begin taking courses as recommended by your advisor, or you may be admitted to a prescribed program (see below). Graduate work in either program must be at the 600 level or above.

Prescribed program admission

In some cases, an applicant who submits application materials that program faculty do not consider satisfactory for regular admission might be admitted under a prescribed program for a trial period. Applicants will be notified by letter of their conditional admission and told to contact the appointed advisor if they wish to enter the prescribed program. Following advisement, the advisor must submit a prescribed program form to the Director of Graduate Study. A limited number of admissions are made each semester on a prescribed program basis. A grade of B or better must be earned in each course in the prescribed program to be considered for regular program admission.

 

Program progress

Program of study, time limits and continuous progress

View all graduate forms

By the end of your second fall/spring semester taking courses in the program, meet with your assigned advisor to establish your advisory-examining committee and complete the Advisory-Examining Committee/ Program of Study form. Your advisor will guide you through this process. Note that all committee members must be members of the UNR graduate faculty.

The program of study must be followed in order to meet all requirements for your master’s degree. If changes occur in either the committee members or the course of study, the student must complete and submit the relevant form(s) to the Graduate School prior to application for graduation.

You may take up to six years to complete all degree requirements. This six-year period begins with the semester the first course was taken that is listed on the program of study form, not with the date of admission to the graduate program. This might, for example, be a course that is transferred into the program.

After acceptance into the program, you must be enrolled in at least 3 credits each fall and spring semester until you complete your degree. The Graduate School requires that you be enrolled in at least three graduate credits each fall and spring semester (Wintermester and summer are excluded) during your program, including the semester in which you plan to graduate. If you take no credits during a fall or spring semester, you must complete and have approved a Leave of Absence form for that semester.

Application for graduation

An application for graduation must be filed by the appropriate date listed in UNR’s academic calendar for the relevant semester. The application form, which includes a processing fee, is available online. It is your responsibility to know and adhere to all deadlines related to program progress, such as the final date for applying for graduation.

 

Degree requirements

Course work includes a general program core that consists of a course in educational research and a culminating comprehensive project, typically taken in the final semester, that involves completion of a scholarly project with an applied component. Another program segment is a 9-credit foundational equity/diversity and language education emphasis. Thereafter, students specialize in one of two strands: Equity and Diversity in Education or Language Education. Each strand has a 6-credit core requirement and 9 credits of electives to be taken in relevant courses.

In the Equity and Diversity in Education strand, elective courses may focus on a variety of topics, age levels, and organizations, such as PK-12 education, higher education, or community organizations, with the option to specialize in specific identities, such as, race, gender, social class, and sexual identity.

In the Language Education strand, elective courses cover a variety of topics related to policies and critical issues pertaining to the education of multilingual learners, planning and designing lesson plans and curricula, assessment, sociolinguistics, teaching language in international contexts, and different approaches to second language acquisition. Note that K-12 teachers may choose to earn an ELAD (English Language Acquisition and Development, formerly ESL) endorsement for 12 specified credits within this program. Individuals without a K-12 teaching license, who might wish to work with adults whose first language is not English or with non-English-speaking individuals abroad, may earn a Graduate Certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

This master’s program offers one degree option: the Master of Science (M.S.) degree. The degree may be completed as a hybrid program that combines face-to-face courses with online courses or as a fully online program. Note that the course catalog indicates which classes are online. (If you have questions, contact the Program Director, Dr. Eleni Oikonomidoy at eleni@unr.edu.

***PLEASE NOTE***

As a student in this program, you must ensure that you:

  • are enrolled in at least 3 credits each fall and spring If you take no credits during a fall or spring semester, you must complete and have approved a Leave of Absence form for that semester.
  • complete a program of study under consultation with your advisor by the end of your second semester.
  • complete a Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request to have previously completed, relevant graduate courses considered for transfer into the program (maximum of 12 credits).
  • take at least 15 credits of 700-level course work during your 30-credit master’s program.
  • do not take the 600-level version of the same course taken at the 400 level, in which case the course would not count within the program.
  • have the needed background preparation or prerequisites to take courses that are not entry-level courses (e.g., for ELAD or gifted/talented courses).
  • maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 to remain in the program.
  • complete your program within 6 years beginning with the first course listed on your program of study (unless you file for an extension based on extenuating circumstances).
  • consult and observe program and Graduate School policies regarding program progress and completion.
  • In consultation with your advisor,
    • Submit the Declaration of advisor form to the graduate school
    • Complete the Program of study form, during your first year in the program.
    • Submit the Notice of Completion form, when you complete the requirements of EDS 795.