The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will soon offer educators a new way to strengthen their skills and advance their careers thanks to the launch of the university’s second graduate program. UAFS announced last week it has received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer a Master of Education degres.

Classes are scheduled to begin in January 2020.

The M.Ed. will allow licensed teachers (or those eligible for licensure) to choose between two areas of emphasis: curriculum and instruction or English.

Dr. Terisa C. Riley, UAFS chancellor, said today’s announcement is an important milestone in the university’s history.

“It’s a direct reflection of the excellence of our faculty,” Dr. Riley said. “Gaining the approval of our accrediting agency underscores the quality of this program. I applaud the hard work of Provost [Dr. Georgia] Hale along with Drs. [Monica] Riley, [Cammie] Sublette, and everyone involved in making today possible. The benefits of this program will be felt in classrooms and communities throughout our region.”

The addition of a second master’s degree further enhances the mission of the university to prepare students to succeed in today’s world while advancing economic development and quality of place, according to Dr. Monica Riley, executive director of the School of Education.

“This M.Ed. will be delivered with the same excellence and outstanding outcomes as our current undergraduate teaching degrees,” said Dr. Monica Riley. “Any K-12 educator will benefit from the curriculum and instruction emphasis. The English emphasis will hone the knowledge and skills of educators interested in developing their abilities in the area of English.”

Faculty from UAFS’s English and education departments worked closely together to ensure the M.Ed.’s curriculum aligns closely with the assessment standards from both the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The end result is a master’s program that is designed to meet the workforce needs of school districts by increasing faculty’s knowledge and leadership skills.

“As the more than 1,400 graduates from the UAFS undergraduate education programs can attest, we prepare exceptional teachers,” said Dr. Cammie Sublette, chair of the English, Rhetoric, & Writing Department. “Our M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction and English will deepen and strengthen the knowledge and skillsets teachers bring to the classroom.”

The M.Ed. is a 30-hour program with 12 hours of core, hybrid coursework, offering a combination of interactive on-campus activities with an online component and 18 hours of specific content offered fully online. Both emphasis areas in the M.Ed. will provide outstanding opportunities for teachers to grow in their areas of expertise. In addition to increasing an educator’s skillset, a master’s degree can increase a teacher’s salary, on average, by approximately $4,400.

Those interested in the M.Ed. program can learn more by contacting the Office of Graduate Studies by email at or the executive director of the School of Education by phone at 479-788-7912. Applications are being accepted for January entry and can be accessed and completed online through the university website at