MU expands access to graduate education for ADW teachers

MU expands access to graduate education for ADW teachers


Marymount University’s School of Education and the Archdiocese of Washington (ADW) have signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a partnership between the two institutions, which will result in expanded access to Marymount graduate programs for ADW teachers through an innovative pathway to licensure.

Seeking to provide access to high-quality and accredited academic courses to assist in career and skill development, ADW will provide funding for its teachers and school leaders to pursue their master’s with licensure in Marymount’s Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education or Administration & Supervision programs. The partnership will continue through at least June 2028, with the initial cohort of students beginning their studies during Summer 2024.

“This collaboration will transform the educational landscape for aspiring educators in the region, and is a testament to our shared commitment to providing high-quality education and empowering educators with the skills and knowledge they need to make a lasting impact in their classrooms,” said Dr. Louis Frisenda, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Initiatives at Marymount University.

“The Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools Office is thrilled to announce our new partnership with Marymount University as we embark on a journey to enhance focus on and bolster our teacher retention and recruitment efforts,” added Denise Ball, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning with the Archdiocese of Washington. “Together, we are committed to nurturing a thriving educational community that empowers both our educators and students for a brighter future.”

MU expands access to graduate education for ADW teachers
Marymount’s Marcia Baldanza and Nicci Dowd

The curriculum format for the pathway to licensure will span 14 weeks, with each course carrying three credit hours – ensuring educators can delve deeply into their chosen field while still maintaining a manageable workload. Cohorts will start with 10 students each who meet qualifying criteria.

The program was designed to be fully online with asynchronous and synchronous classes in order to be compatible with teachers’ busy schedules. They will also be able to fulfill the program’s student teaching component at their current employment site.

“The online classes offer flexibility, allowing students to create personalized schedules and access course materials from anywhere – making their education more accessible,” said Marcia Baldanza, Assistant Professor of Education at Marymount University. “We have created a five-semester model so that ADW teachers are licensed and qualified as soon as possible. Additionally, this online model often provides a broader range of students from across the ADW’s schools, enabling teachers to explore topics more deeply with others in different settings and expand their knowledge base and perspectives.”

Diverse offerings available within Marymount’s Education programs cater to educators across various grade levels and specializations. For instance, in the University’s Secondary Education master’s program, content areas include biology, chemistry, earth science, English, history and social sciences, mathematics and physics.

Marymount’s M.Ed. in Administration & Supervision, in particular, prepares students for advanced careers as public, private and Catholic school leaders. Coursework covers impactful leadership practices, continuous improvement, community building and the Catholic and public schools’ history, teachings and moral perspectives – all while encouraging every student’s beliefs and viewpoints within a supportive academic community.

“The Archdiocese of Washington shares a mission that aligns with Marymount’s values,” explained Nicci Dowd, Assistant Professor of Education at Marymount University. “Both institutions are dedicated to educational equity and excellence for all students as well as the teaching mission of the Catholic Church. Therefore, this alignment just made sense.”