WARRENSBURG — Two University of Central Missouri online academic programs, master of science in library science and information services and the master of arts in teaching, have been named among the nation’s top programs in two separate rankings conducted by TheBestSchools.org.
In the ranking organization’s 2019 feature about best online schools, UCM was listed as 22nd among 25 institutions selected in a category for best master’s degree in library and information science and fifth among best schools offering a master’s degree in secondary education.
The methodology considered academic excellence based on the curriculum in each discipline, strength of faculty scholarship, institutional reputation, financial aid, range of degree programs, strength of online instruction, along with criteria related to accreditation, public or private status, acceptance rate, retention rate, graduation rate, ACT/SWAT requirements and cost both in- and out-of-state.
TheBestSchools.org notes that earning a master’s in library science online “is the first step toward landing a fulfilling position in a museum, school, library or private collection.”
Website information states professionals with a graduate degree qualify for high-level roles in numerous career areas, which are experiencing growth as organizations utilize digital forms of information organization and cataloguing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected employment for archivists is expected to grow by 14 percent in the next decade, which is twice the average rate for all occupations.
The ranking organization states UCM’s MS in library science and information services utilizes a fully online format that allows candidates to complete their degree without ever visiting campus. The 35-credit-hour program includes 10 required courses. The curriculum covers topics that are both general and school librarianship and includes courses such as library media administration, curriculum and the media center and developing and managing collections.“UCM emphasizes experiential learning, and the degree includes both a practicum component and an action research project in school libraries, each worth three credits. The practicum builds professional experience in a school library, and online learners already employed at school typically complete the experience in the workplace,” TheBestSchools.org noted.
Graduates of UCM’s program obtain skills needed to instruct others in the acquisition, creation, evaluation and use of information, developing and implementing effective library programs in schools.
In ranking the 30 Best Online Master’s in Secondary Education Programs, The BestSchools.org notes about UCM, “Although the University of Central Missouri originally focused on serving the town of Warrensburg, Missouri, the school now enrolls students in 60 countries thanks to its slate of distance education programs. As UCM’s first iteration was a teacher’s college, the school’s online master of arts degree in teaching – which includes concentrations in secondary education or middle school education – is particularly strong. Requiring two years to complete the program results in teacher certification for grades six through 12.”
It states that in addition to certification and practical topics related to classroom discipline and curriculum development, the program consists of theory, including studies in advanced foundations of education and advanced educational psychology. An internship and research course are included in the 30-credit-hour curriculum. UCM’s online programs form a large portion of the school’s identity, and all online students pay the same per-credit-hour tuition rate regardless of their state or country of residence, the rankings organization noted.Students who earn a master’s degree in secondary education can prepare for careers as high school teachers, academic support staff and administrators. They develop into professionals who rely on advanced academic training, patience and communication skills in order to facilitate students’ intellectual and emotional growth, according to TheBestSchools.org.