Final head count and semester-credit-hour totals for spring 2008 are in and Lamar University officials are pleased with figures that are the best since 1991.
 After taking tabulations on the 20th class day, the official day for reporting purposes, Lamar University’s head count for spring stands at 10,562, an increase of 16.1 percent over spring 2007 and the largest since 1991, and semester credit hours total 109,036, up 5.4 percent over the preceding year.  Head count for spring 2007 totaled 9,098 and the total semester hours for spring 2007 were 103,382.
 The growth is due in part to Lamar’s new Master’s of Education program that attracted more than 1,500 distance education students since it began in October 2007.  Growth was seen in other areas as well, including the College of Engineering that experienced a substantial increase in majors, up 9.1 percent over the previous spring. 
 Since it was first offered, public school teachers employed in more than 200 partner school districts across the state have enrolled in the 18-month electronically delivered Master’s of Education program from the College of Education and Human Development.
Lamar offers the degree program through a public-private partnership with Higher Education Holdings, LLC of Dallas and is delivering its Master’s in Educational Leadership degree statewide.  It is the same degree offered on Lamar’s campus in the traditional face-to-face method. Whether offered electronically or face-to-face, the courses are taught by Lamar University faculty members.
“Access, affordability and advanced training in K-12 instruction are higher education concerns heard throughout the state and the nation,” Kevin Smith, Lamar University Senior Provost, said.  “This innovative program directly responds to all three. Courses are available at the time and place of the student’s choosing; high quality, contemporary curricula add graduate-level skills and knowledge to the state’s teacher corps and the degree program is the most affordable in the state.  This is perhaps the first time that the cost of education has been significantly lowered.”
Through these partnerships, school districts use Lamar University ’s high-quality master’s programs to recruit, retain and enhance the effectiveness of the very best teachers and administrators.  Teachers can earn the degree through an innovative learning system that allows educators to work in their school or in the convenience of their homes.
The program began in October, but early assessments indicate it has been academically rigorous and well received by teachers and administrators, Smith said.  “Lamar will monitor and evaluate the program over time to ensure we continue providing the highest quality program possible.”
“The delivery is extremely flexible.  It allows me to work at my own pace on my master’s degree and still be a teacher, wife and mother,” said Jessica Sandoval, a teacher in the Birdwell ISD participating in the master’s program.  “Having the opportunity to work from home and get feedback from your classmates who are experiencing what you are is wonderful.”
Two master’s degrees are available, the Master’s of Education in Teacher Leadership, and the Master’s of Education in School Administration.  Both programs have a common core of courses, and then include an emphasis for the programs in later courses.
The teacher leadership program is a non-thesis master’s degree program fully aligned to national teaching standards. The program is designed to develop effective instructional leaders who can implement a vision of learning. This includes designing curriculum, implementing research-based instructional strategies, motivating students, using assessment for learning, managing effective classrooms and engaging the larger community to support learning.
The school administration program is a non-thesis principal certification master’s degree program fully aligned with the Texas State Exam (TExES) Competencies and the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) standards. The program is designed to develop leaders who can build inclusive communities that support learning for all students in cultures of continuous improvement.
The application-based curricula of both programs meet the practical needs of educators and school districts through relevant, research-based content.
More information about the Lamar University Academic Partnerships is available online at or by e-mailing