Sept. 2 marks the first day of UVU’s first graduate students pursuing their master’s of education degree. There are officially 22 students that are enrolled in the program. One such graduate student is Nancy Hale, a teacher with 19 years of experience in the Alpine School District and the wife of Val Hale, vice president of UVU institutional development.
“Val has absolutely loved UVU and has been here for four years. It’s a great place to be. I was thrilled with UVU becoming a university so they could add this master’s program,” said Hale. “Being in the education system, I’ve seen the caliber of teachers UVU has produced out of their education program, so I knew this would be a high-caliber program.”
In the past, Hale was never interested in obtaining a master’s degree because most people in her profession would study administration, something she wasn’t interested in. Hale became enticed by the fact that the new program at UVU had a focus on instruction and curriculum, which was her expertise and passion.
Hale’s educational career began when she graduated from BYU in 1979 with a bachelor’s in elementary education. She has since worked with Alpine School District, though taking a break to raise her family. For the past three years, she has been working as an instructional coach who trains first-year junior high school teachers.
“I have really enjoyed my assignments as an instructional coach, looking at how students learn and seeing how teachers can reach to every student within our stewardship,” said Hale. “I’m excited to see what kinds of research there are out there for teaching strategies […] to become a better teacher and help those who I work with.”
The master’s of education program is designed for those who are in the education profession. Hale and her fellow classmates attend class once a week on Tuesday evenings for three hours during the fall and spring semesters. During the summer, they take nine credit hours.
Classes are taught as team-teaching classes, meaning there are two professors teaching a class. This is to give students dual-perspectives on elementary and secondary education. After two years, students will graduate and be recognized as the first graduating class of UVU’s graduate program.
Hale felt that after she graduates, a lot of options will open for her. She currently enjoys working with first-year teachers, so is looking at the possibility of continuing in this but with teachers at the college or university level.
Hale’s favorite thing about teaching is “seeing the light come on” when a struggling student begins to understand what is being taught. She said that she believes every person is capable of learning and she hopes to learn more teaching methods at UVU to continue to help students succeed in their studies.