Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Lane Clarke, Education Program
Dr. Lane Clarke is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of New England on the Biddeford Campus. As the department chair, she teaches classes at the undergraduate level to pre-service teachers in literacy and global education.
Her research interests include online teaching, technology and literacy, and working with students who struggle with literacy. She has published three books: Educating Literacy Teachers Online: Tools, Techniques, and Transformations (Clarke & Watts-Taffe, 2013), The reading turn-around: A five-part framework for differentiated instruction (Jones, Clarke & Enriquez, 2009) and High-tech teaching success: A step by step guide to using innovative technology in your classroom (Clarke & Besnoy, 2009). In addition, she has articles published in journals such as The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Journal of Literacy Research, English Journal, and Language Arts, among others.
We spoke with Dr. Clarke about her career and the Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification program she helped develop for online students.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what drew you to teaching at UNE?
I got my undergraduate in Psychology and then did a Teacher Certification program similar to what we offer here at UNE. I taught fourth grade in New York and South Carolina, and then I was a Reading Specialist in Ohio for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. I worked on my doctorate while I was in South Carolina and I finished it up in Cincinnati. And then I moved to higher education and worked at Northern Kentucky University before coming to UNE and teaching graduate courses online. I was also charged with developing the Master of Science in Education in Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach K-12 here.
What do you teach right now?
I currently work with the undergraduate Education program which is on-ground on our Biddeford campus. I am a Literacy professor, and I teach all of the Literacy Methods classes at both the undergraduate program and also with our Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification program. I also teach our technology classes as well, which is a wonderful opportunity for me to bring the work that I had done when I was teaching online, into the face-to-face program.
Can you talk a little bit about the Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification program?
Absolutely. The Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification program is a unique way of structuring classes where students complete on-ground classes to earn their Teacher Certification, and then they have the option of taking five more classes online to earn their Master of Science in Education, with a concentration in Teaching Methodology. It is a 30-credit master’s degree program, and available only to UNE students who have completed the Teacher Certification Program.
UNE students who complete the Teacher Certification program and enroll in the master’s program automatically enter the program with 15 credits, and only need to complete 15 additional credits to fulfill the 30-credit program requirement.
The remaining 15-credits are 100% online, with no campus visits required and are comprised of the five core courses central to the Master of Science in Education general track. The courses cover in-depth study in the areas of professional learning communities, differentiation, motivation, and action research.
Who would be a typical student in the Teacher Certification program?
The program is especially attractive to second career people, or people like me, who come to teaching a little bit later. Maybe they got a degree, and then in hindsight, they weren’t really sure that was exactly what they wanted to do.
For example, sometimes they’re our own graduates. We have a couple of students who had graduated from UNE with degrees such as Health Occupational and Wellness, or Nursing, or Athletic Training. They get through their program and they find themselves reconsidering their career path.
We get a lot of people desiring to change careers, and a lot of parents who have been home with kids, who are ready to restart their career. They’re drawn to teaching because it allows for a work schedule that is more closely aligned with their children’s schedules.
What was your favorite aspect of teaching at UNE?
I love the diversity of the students that we get. They just seem to come from all different kinds of walks of life and all different experiences. And I love the way that they are able to bring that into their program, and really kind of share their background, and their uniqueness with each other. It’s a real strength of the program.
How do you feel that you prepare your students for life after graduation?
When students complete the Teacher Certification program, they are ready to be a teacher. When they get through the on-ground Teacher Certification part of the program, most students get jobs right away, and then continue on to their Master’s while they’re teaching. Financially this is a wonderful thing, because most school districts will pay for them to continue their education. So that seems to be the typical trajectory for students.
What do you feel sets the UNE Education program apart?
I feel that this program is unique in the fact that you can get both the Master’s and the Teacher Certification, and its unique in the delivery mode, where you start on the ground and then you finish online.
I think it’s also unique in the sense that you’ve got some flexibility to carve out your own path, which I think sets the program apart as well. Students get to focus on what they’d like to study, and they follow the timeline that works for them.
What do you like best about working with UNE students?
I find that our students are incredibly motivated. They’re passionate and they really are committed to what they want to do. I’ve taught both online and face-to-face, and I’ve just loved also the sense of community in both environments. I think that sense of community that you get face-to-face – you also get online – and I think that we do a really good job of building those connections with the program, with other students, and with the professors. I think that’s a strength on both platforms.
How do you build community with your online students?
The professors at UNE are fantastic. They use discussion boards, they use live interactions, videos, and a lot of multi-modal and multimedia is done both on-ground and in the online classes.
It’s funny because you think you can’t really build a sense of community in your classes, but you totally do. Instructor presence and social presence is something that UNE truly values, and really finds ways to encourage.
I’ve heard students just so many times, going to some of the MSEd graduations, where students are like “I’ve seen your face! I’ve heard your voice! I’ve watched your video presentations!’ And they feel that sense of connection which is really powerful.
If you are interested in the online Graduate Programs in Education or if you would like more information on UNE Online’s MSEd, PMC, CAGS or Ed.D. programs, please reach out to an Enrollment Counselor at (800) 994-2804 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, if you’re ready to apply, fill out your online application at online.une.edu/gateway-portal-page.
More Education program information: http://go.une.edu/graduate-degree-education-programs