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Watson College News

WCE Celebrates First Graduates of MAT in Art Education Program

Sunday, May 08, 2022

In May, Sarah Blakey, Kristen Breyfogle, Alaina Bubeck, Lari Ham, Shannon Kerrigan, and Alexis Michelle became the first to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching in Art Education from the Watson College. The program, introduced in Summer 2021, is designed for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in art or a related field and would like to teach art at public schools.

“I was delighted to see our first cohort of students graduate,” said Christine Liao, associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education and coordinator of the new MAT in Art Education program. “These students are a joy to work with. The program was intense but they pushed through and all did so well in their internship and passed edTPA. Some of them already received job offers before graduation. They realized their dreams to become an art teacher in one year.”

WCE’s MAT in Art program is carefully designed to provide the maximum amount of art-teaching knowledge and field experience with minimal time. Students in the initial cohort recently shared feedback on the program with Dr. Liao. 

“I did not expect my confidence would be so high by the end of this program,” Blakey said. “The experience that I had in the classroom and with the partnership teacher, and the coursework that led up to being in the classroom, benefited me personally and professionally.”  

“This program helped me figure out how to communicate,” Kerrigan said. “I was able to make art. But going through all the courses helped me learn about different resources for finding projects to do, and how to create a diverse curriculum. I am better at communicating with my students, and know-how to provide them with different resources so that they can improve as artists and learn more than just art.”  

“I wouldn't be where I am today without my partnership teacher and this program,” Ham said. “I feel super confident now being in my own classroom and being in charge. Just a year ago I don't think I would have seen myself here today, so it's just kind of crazy how much growth you can go through in just a year.”  

About the MAT in Art Education Program

The intensive MAT in Art Education program combines online courses with in-person and hands-on field experience to provide maximum flexibility for working professionals. During the final semester, students participate in full-time student teaching under the guidance of a mentor teacher and faculty supervisor. Successful completion of the program prepares students for obtaining NC K-12 art teaching licensure. 

New cohorts begin Summer I and Spring semester every year. Interested individuals can contact program coordinator Dr. Christine Liao at liaoc@uncw.edu or visit the program website