MARSHALL – Marshall ISD and East Texas Baptist University have entered into a partnership agreement which will provide a Professional Development Scholarship Program for qualified, eligible and approved MISD employees.
During a press conference held Thursday on campus at ETBU, Dr. Jerry Gibson, MISD Superintendent, and Dr. J. Blair Blackburn, President of ETBU, presented an educational partnership plan which will provide MISD employees the opportunity to earn master’s degrees at ETBU. The partnership creates an opportunity for district employees to pursue graduate education at ETBU for professional development in Curriculum and Instruction, Business Administration, Educational Leadership, and Counseling.
“MISD is grateful for ETBU and their willingness to partner with us in providing this great opportunity for our staff,” said Dr. Gibson. “The university has shown its commitment to Marshall and MISD in the past with partnerships such as Maverick University, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them in the future as we build a legacy providing quality educational opportunities for the children in our community.”
“ETBU and MISD have long enjoyed a partnership in higher education here in Harrison County,” said Dr. Blackburn. “As institutions of education, we want our employees, both MISD and ETBU, to be the best trained in their field. Within MISD there are a host of teachers who desire to expand their education past their bachelor’s degree.We want to provide our MISD faculty the opportunity for affordable and accessible graduate education. This partnership will increase our educators’ commitment to teaching excellence and better equip our MISD students.”
Both ETBU and MISD have committed to provide financial support to make a private education possible for district employees. ETBU will grade a 1/3 professional development scholarship for Marshall school district employees, and MISD will match that scholarship with a 1/3 employee professional development tuition grant. The employee will then be responsible for only the remaining 1/3 of the tuition costs, making the completion of a master’s degree more affordable and accessible to district educators.
With the scholarship support from ETBU and MISD, the cost of graduate education at ETBU is significantly reduced and made comparable and even less than other public state institutions.
ETBU currently offers master’s degrees in Education, Sports and Exercise Leadership, Business Administration, Counseling, Religion and Ministry.
To meet the professional development needs of teachers and educational administrators, the university is developing new graduate degree programs in educational leadership with Principal Certification, Superintendent Certification, school counseling, Kinesiology and College and University Leadership.
MISD will require a three-year commitment to the district for any employee who participates in the program, Dr. Gibson said.
“We see this as an investment in our teachers and staff, which ultimately is an investment in our students,” Dr. Gibson said. “This is a three-way partnership with the employee to invest in the education of Marshall students, and we will require those who take advantage of this opportunity to in turn invest in MISD.”
“MISD educators can gain advance degrees and improve their access to new teaching strategies,” said Dr. John Sargent, Dean of the School of Education at ETBU. “They will have the ability to utilize online, hybrid and face-to-face learning with ETBU faculty that are experts in their field of education.”
The program will begin and be made available during the upcoming Fall 2016 semester.