Illinois State University’s Graduate School is excited to announce the implementation of a new graduate program. The English Education master’s program can be completed for a Master of Science or a Master of Arts degree. This program is exclusively online and is available for current licensed teachers looking to refine their skills in the classroom. This program will be synchronous and will meet virtually in the evenings and on weekends to allow students to continue working in their own classrooms. 

The Master in English Education program is designed for certified secondary English language arts (ELA) teachers who wish to deepen their knowledge of ELA content, pedagogy, and research with a focus on social justice. Program students, or teacher scholars will, through a series of scaffolded courses, learn to design and conduct research in their own secondary ELA classrooms. They will be able to improve the effectiveness of their socially just ELA instruction and advocate for the strengths and needs of all learners. These skills will equip program graduates with critical tools to become reflective instructional leaders in their classrooms, departments, schools, state, and professional field. Devoted and knowledgeable faculty and staff have designed an innovative, research-informed curriculum that will allow teacher scholars to join an inclusive learning community of teacher colleagues who share a passion for improving the effectiveness of their instruction in support of student learning.

Dr. Danielle Lillege, graduate coordinator for the English education master’s program, is confident this new program will greatly help teaching professionals learn more about the ELA discipline.

“The future of ELA rests in the hands of those teacher scholars who are, through their everyday instruction and interactions with students, colleagues, and others in their school communities, imagining and enacting more equitable instruction responsive to the diverse learners and classroom cultures they seek to support,” Lillege said.

Dr. Danielle Lillege, English education graduate program coordinator

There are five required core courses, 15 credit hours of elective graduate courses, and a required teacher action research thesis to complete the program. These courses provide instructional support so teachers can design, conduct, write about, and disseminate their research to positively affect instructional change in their classrooms and school communities. The five core courses are:

  • Critical Conversations in Teaching of English
  • Theories of Socially Just ELA Instruction
  • Teacher Action Research Methods
  • Assessing and Analyzing Diverse Student Literacy Data
  • English Teacher Advocacy in Action

Through elective course options, students may choose to deepen their disciplinary knowledge within English or other related disciplines. Students may choose, if they wish, to enroll in elective courses that enable them to meet the criteria to teach dual enrollment courses in their high schools. With the program coordinator and mentors, students will tailor these options to meet their professional learning and teaching goals.

The Graduate School at Illinois State University recognizes that now it is more difficult than ever for teachers to feel supported in their efforts to positively influence student learning. Lillege believes this program will offer support and community to practicing teachers.

“In this moment where teachers’ professional expertise and knowledge are acutely under question, we know that teachers can’t work and learn in isolation. Change is a collective action,” she said. “This program offers a nurturing community of renewal through intellectual and pedagogical growth for those teachers who seek to become the positive change they wish to see in ELA and in their departments and schools. Teacher scholars learning in this program will open promising possibilities for their students to create and contribute to futures we can’t even imagine today.”

“Teacher scholars learning in this program will open promising possibilities for their students to create and contribute to futures we can’t even imagine today.”

Dr. Danielle Lillege

This program intends to not only educate teachers but also to support those teachers in their journey of earning a master’s degree. The cohort style of the program will allow like-minded students to support each other while learning. Students will join one another and program faculty in a summer learning retreat that will not only be educational but also will allow students to get to know each other and work more closely.

For admission into the English education program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree completed and already be a practicing English teacher. Additionally, applicants must upload a resume, proof of teaching license, and teacher portfolio to the online application. Learn more about the English Education graduate program.