Touro College Adds New Degree to Increase Science Teaching

Date: February 27, 2014
Media Contact:

Barbara Franklin
Director of Communications
212-463-0400 x5530

New York, N.Y. – In partnership with New York Medical College (NYMC), Touro College’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) will be offering a Master of Science in Biology Education starting in fall 2014.

The new degree will allow graduates to meet the requirements for New York State teacher certification to teach biology at the middle and high school levels, as well as teach environmental and general science courses. This is the first time that the two Touro graduate programs have worked in partnership.

“There is enormous value in our ability to collaborate between the schools in the Touro College and University System,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, president and CEO. “This unique relationship between New York Medical College and the Graduate School of Education addresses a real need that we see in this country today — to create teachers grounded in both science and pedagogy who will inspire our students to achieve in the sciences.”

The schools see the partnership as one that will benefit future teachers. They will be exposed to not only the latest in pedagogical techniques and training, but also to the most current research and practices in biomedical science.

“This program is an important collaboration between the Graduate School of Education and New York Medical College, and will allow us to add a science program to the broad array of master's programs,” said Dr. Lamar Miller, dean of the Graduate School of Education. “And it reinforces Touro College’s commitment to serving the public schools.”

The program, which will be offered primarily at NYMC in Valhalla, N.Y., consists of 10 courses for 30 credits. It combines biology content, teaching skills and teaching practice in middle and high schools.

The program has been designed as a two-year, part-time program to accommodate those who have employment or family responsibilities, and includes evening and online classes. While the focus is on developing teachers for middle and high schools, graduates can participate in a “downward extension” that provides training for teaching science to fifth graders.

According to Dr. Francis Belloni, dean of the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences at NYMC, the program will enhance the way in which we create new science teachers. “Rather than simply focusing on teaching methodologies,” he said, “this program will encourage those with stronger science backgrounds and interests to become teachers by giving them both pedagogical training and exposure to some state-of-the-art concepts in biology and biomedical science.”  

Enrollees will develop a network of connections that will serve them well as they teach. They will have access to NYMC faculty and researchers.

To meet the demands of the degree, the Graduate School of Education will hire a chair to steer the course of this newly formed department. Prof. Stevan R. Peters, of the education school, will serve as interim chair.

Once hired, the chair will be responsible for providing day-to-day academic leadership, implementing the program and interfacing with local schools and educators to determine their needs, according to Peters. A meeting has been scheduled for March 6 to meet with lead teachers and Westchester school administrators to determine their needs, Peters said.

“We want to solicit input into the program and identify potential staff members,” Peters said. “People with a lot of pedagogical and field experience will be needed, and we hope to build relationships that will lead to placing our graduates as future student teachers.”