-- New Degree Recognizes Need to Develop Students’ Computer Skills and Computational Thinking Early in Life --
QUEENS, NY, May 30, 2017 – As the college that graduates the most teachers, counselors and principals in the metropolitan area, Queens College has long played a major role in “educating the educators” to help their students succeed. With recent New York City and New York State Department of Education approvals of a unique new graduate degree program, QC leads the way in fostering the teaching of computational thinking and computer skills in middle school and high school.
The degree, which will be offered in fall 2017, is a Master’s in Science in Education (grades 7-12). Students will graduate with the specialized knowledge and skills in computer science (CS) that are needed to teach the subject, including AP courses in CS, in secondary schools.
“It’s crucial that students learn the practical skills and critical thinking needed to be effective citizens—not just digital consumers—in our technology-focused society,” said Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, a member of the mayor’s NYC Tech Talent Pipeline Academic Council. “Through our new program, highly qualified teachers of math and computer science will be reaching younger students and perhaps also inspiring them to pursue careers in science.”
“Our goal as a City is to guarantee that every single student in our schools has the opportunity to learn computer science, enabling them to become better thinkers, problem-solvers, and creators. It’s exciting that Queens College is preparing teachers to enter our classrooms ready to lead this new type of learning for our students,” said Phil Weinberg, Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning.
In September 2015, New York City launched Computer Science for All (CS4All), a ten-year initiative to bring CS education to the 1.1 million students in all of the city’s public schools. The stated goal is to introduce “at least one meaningful, high-quality CS learning experience at each school level: elementary, middle and high school.”
To meet that objective, nearly 5,000 teachers will have to be trained in CS. Last September, a CS for All Consortium was launched with National Science Foundation funding. It is comprised of more than 320 organizations from the nonprofit, government, industry and education sectors.
“Developing our new master’s degree program was a true collaboration,” said Professor Craig A. Michaels, dean of the Queens College Division of Education. QC chairpersons in education (Prof. Eleanor Armour-Thomas) and computer science (Prof. Zhigang Xiang) and mathematics education Prof. Alice Artzt worked with colleagues in the New York City and New York State Departments of Education, he said. QC also had a close consulting relationship with Dr. Leigh Ann DeLyser, the director of Education and Research for CSNYC and co-chair of the CS for All Consortium.
“We wanted to make sure that our program made sense conceptually and responded to the needs of the city’s CS for All initiative,” said Michaels.
In New York State, students receive “initial” teacher certification at the undergraduate level and are given five years to complete an appropriate master’s degree. Candidates for Queens College’s mathematics-computer science teaching degree must have Initial New York State certification in mathematics (grades 7-12), take the Graduate Record Exams, and have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
“Ideally, candidates will be relatively new teachers working in New York City public high schools,” said Michaels, whose next goal for his Education Division is to develop a Post-Master’s Certificate Program in computer science education. “Although all teachers can learn to better integrate technology into their teaching, computer science at QC and most other colleges and universities is grounded in mathematical proficiency,” said Michaels. “That’s why our new degree program is designed for current mathematics teachers.”
With math comes computational thinking which, educators say, may well be the 21st century’s fourth “R,” joining the time-honored “Reading, w-Riting and a-Rithmetic” as the foundation of a necessary, skills-oriented education.
The application deadline is August 15. Apply online here.
About Queens College:
Queens College graduates the most teachers, counselors, and principals in the metropolitan area. It also contributes to the city’s talent pool as a powerful economic engine and a leader in tech education, with more undergraduate computer science majors than any New York City college. Students from across the country and around the world come to the Aaron Copland School of Music. Its renowned faculty and alumni include nationally recognized composers, conductors and performers who have received nearly 40 Grammy Awards and nominations over the past 40 years.
The college enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, Queens College helps its nearly 19,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year in the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, as well as being ranked a U.S. News and World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Visit our homepage to learn more.