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May 30, 2014 — A new program that allows students to obtain their University of Wyoming Master of Arts degrees in English without leaving their hometowns is proving to be successful, with 14 students recently graduating.
The distance education program is offered by the UW Department of English and the UW Outreach School. Courses are taught using video conferencing technology and hybrid instruction, with a one-week residency in Laramie each summer.
Many of the students teach in Wyoming public schools. Twelve of them marched in the UW College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony Saturday, May 10, in UW’s Indoor Practice Facility.
The distance master’s degree program delivers classes to a limited number of students so there is an opportunity for meaningful discussion and interaction among students and faculty, says Susan Frye, Outreach School dean. She says award-winning Department of English faculty members teach the classes.
Cohort member Buck Tilton of Lander obtained a job teaching English at Central Wyoming College in Riverton. He is grateful for the opportunity to earn his master’s in English degree without having to leave his community.
“Through compressed video, you can have those exchanges. It’s almost like being in the classroom together,” he says. “The main reason that the outreach program worked for me is that it allowed me to keep working. I have a family and bills to pay. Through outreach, I could do both -- work on my master’s degree and hold down a job.”
For a Master of Arts degree in English, each student wrote a master’s thesis directed by a faculty adviser, after completing the required coursework.
“The program’s curriculum offers a wide range of courses that appeal to a variety of interests, while providing a well-rounded background in English studies,” Frye says.
A second cohort group will begin the program in June.
More information about the program, including requirements and coursework, can be found by visiting www.uwyo.edu/outreach/ocp/degrees-programs and selecting English, or by calling the Outreach School at 1-800-448-7801.
Cohort members of the first graduating class, listed by hometown are:
Casper -- Brandie Reed.
Cheyenne -- Caitlin Bohnenblust and Wendy Stone.
Laramie -- Diane Brewer.
Lander -- Hillary Reisig, Buck Tilton and Charleigh Wolfe.
Meeteetse -- Molly Potas.
Sheridan -- Rita Geary, Marla Hinrichs, Matthew Johnson, Stacy Preston and Carol Stewart.
Torrington -- Courtney Merrigan.
Susan Frye, University of Wyoming Outreach School dean, teaches an English course for the master’s degree program using distance technology. (UW Photo)