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CWU to Offer First Master of Education Specialization in STEM Leadership in Washington

Selah High School science teacher Alex Soto will be among the first recipients of Central Washington University’s Master of Education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Leadership Specialization. Classes for the new program—the only one of its kind in Washington—will begin in July and enrollment is now open.

Photo: CWU students in physics lab

“I’m looking to gain further knowledge about how to teach science to people from different backgrounds and lifestyles, and get everyone super excited about STEM in general,” said Soto, a 2020 CWU graduate from Naches. “In the long run, I could see myself transitioning into a district-wide STEM facilitator position. So, having this knowledge under my belt now will be very helpful.”

The 48-credit hybrid program is geared toward the needs of teachers, allowing them to attend classes in the summer without having to manage daily teaching responsibilities. Open to all elementary through 12th-grade teachers, the degree typically takes two years to complete and is designed for those who want to improve STEM offerings at the school and district levels.

“Those math and science teachers that really want to step up and become the department chair, or they want to advance the strategies and techniques their schools are using in the classroom,” explained Rachel George, CWU academic advisor for the STEM Teaching Program.

Candidates will spend only one or two weekends in class, with the remainder of the instruction taking place online. The goal is to help educators integrate multiple STEM disciplines into their courses via project-based, culturally responsive teaching practices. Specialized leadership courses will foster skills needed to become effective STEM leaders in their communities.

“There’s a component that also increases a student’s content knowledge,” added Mark Oursland, CWU mathematics and STEM education professor. “There are going to be some courses specific to certain areas that students will take, which will help them learn more math, science, or computer science.”

Oursland also points out the program, offered quarterly, will benefit teachers who want to become certified for College in the High School courses. The new degree offering is part of CWU’s Master Teacher Curriculum and Instruction master’s program.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

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