William Paterson becomes first in N.J. to offer ‘STEAM’ graduate degree

William Paterson University will launch a new graduate degree program in “STEAM” this fall, it announced on Friday.

The Wayne-based school said it is now the first and only institution in New Jersey, and one of only a few nationwide, to offer STEAM at a graduate level.

The program is a revamped version of its Master of Education in Curriculum and Learning program, it said, and will add “the arts” to its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction.

“Research shows that arts integration in elementary and middle school STEM coursework can bolster student engagement and learning,” Amy Ginsberg, dean of William Paterson University’s College of Education, said. “Adding the arts makes STEM more accessible to more K-8 students — particularly those that sway heavier to such interests and skills or those who have previously faced inequities in STEM education due to socioeconomic, racial, or linguistic factors, among others.”

The 33-credit concentration, which can be completed in two years, is geared toward previously certified K-8 teachers, aiming to enhance their ability to teach and guide STEM subjects, according to professor Heejung An, director of the Master of Education in Curriculum and Learning program.

“We are offering an entire concentration at the master’s level, which is very exciting,” Sandra Alon, STEAM concentration coordinator and associate professor of educational leadership and professional studies, said. “We have many experienced teachers coming to us, going back to school, eager to enroll in this program.”

Among the offered courses are Teaching Physical Science with the STEAM Approach; Multiple Representations of Mathematics Across the Curriculum; Programming Robotics and Engineering in STEAM; and Arts Integration: Interactive Strategies for STEAM.

Once a student completes the program, WPU said, they will have already partially completed both the middle school mathematics endorsement program and the requirements for a supervisory certificate.

“Therefore, students would only need two more courses — courses the university offers — to earn another important professional credential,” Alon said.