The MTSU Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) degree Major in Curriculum and Instruction
offers a Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process (CC/LP). This
unique 30-hour, online degree program provides students with an opportunity to consider
the impact and influence of educational neuroscience, cultural circumstances, and
psychology on teaching and learning.
Every year more and more cultural diversity is present within public schools. Current
educational research into cognition considers diversity and its impact upon teaching
Smells, memories, pain, learning—all these experiences and many more are made possible
by just three pounds of tissue in our heads—the brain! This program is for all who
would like to learn more about cultural diversity, mental processes, and cognitive/educational
neuroscience and their impact on the exciting world of teaching and learning. What
makes learning harder or easier? What actually is learning? What really happens when
people learn? Should educators know something about the brains of the students sitting
in their classrooms and what is happening—or not—and possible explanations about how
this exciting mental process is occurring? This online degree program provides students
with an opportunity to consider the impact and influence of educational neuroscience,
cultural circumstances, and psychology on teaching and on learning in general.
*All students must be admitted to the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) College of Graduate Studies. All coursework is delivered via the Desire to Learn (D2L) course management system.
Have questions about this program? Email Barbara.Young@mtsu.edu.
MTSU Online degree program broadens horizons in education field
The Culture, Cognition and Learning Process specialization degree was born in 2007 with a course of study that applies to classroom
educators, school administrators and other professionals working in an ever-evolving
and complex world. The program was created thanks to the tireless work of Dr. Barbara
Young. With this depth of educational knowledge, Young saw an opportunity to create
and direct a unique, graduate-level program that would offer high-quality online instruction
and address the plethora of diversity issues facing educators today. “In addition
to being completely online, the asynchronous courses are available on a year-round
set rotation schedule, which allows students to plan out their own path to graduation,”
said Dr. Young, a New Orleans native who taught in K-12 classrooms for almost two
decades across Louisiana before moving to Tennessee. “This format flexibility, as
well as the graduate-level program’s unique course of study, make it appealing to
a diverse group of applicants.” As the name of the program suggests, courses focus
on diversity, contributions of psychology to the field of teaching and learning, contributions
of neuroscience to the field of education, historical and social context of multicultural
education and cultural issues in education. Students must have a master’s degree to
apply, though they don't need to be licensed educators. Read more here.
Mom, working professional continues education with fully online degree program
After spending time planning and researching online programs, Dr. Tabetha Sullens,
assistant head of school for student affairs at the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee,
said she knew MTSU was the right place to continue her education. “I researched several
EdS online programs before choosing MTSU,” she recalled. “I knew I valued my time
at MTSU in my undergraduate work… Since I work in a boarding school with students
from 23 countries and 15 states, I appreciated the focus on diversity within the curriculum
in the program.” Dr. Sullens said the program’s online platform appealed to her for
many reasons. “I commute two hours a day to Webb. I knew I needed flexibility while
holding a full-time job and my role as a mother. This program allowed me to find balance
with furthering my education while realistically meeting all my other obligations.”
MTSU’s ability to provide a program that makes a work-life-school balance possible
was one of the most appealing things to Dr. Sullens. “The flexibility of an asynchronous
program is doable for anyone, truly!” Read more about Dr. Sullens here.
MTSU College of Graduate Studies
The Womack Educational Leadership Department offers the Specialist in Education degree (Ed.S.) with a major in Curriculum and
Instruction and a specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process.
This online degree program provides an opportunity to consider the impact and influence
that cultural circumstances and mental processes have on learning and teaching in
Applicants must have:
- a satisfactory score on the Miller Analogies Test, the Graduate Record Examination,
or the Praxis II (Principles of Learning and Teaching) or a valid teacher license;
- an earned master’s degree from an accredited university or college;
- a grade point average (GPA) in previous academic work that reflects potential for
success in the Ed.S.;
- a valid teaching license. The licensure requirement may be waived.
For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS button to the right.
Other graduate degrees
An M.Ed. with a major in Curriculum and Instruction is offered; also available is a concentration in English as a Second Language.
In addition are both on- and off-campus cohorts.
The Womack Educational Leadership Department offers both the Master of Education (M.Ed.)
and Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) with a major in Administration and Supervision.
The specialization in Higher Education can lead to either an Ed.S. or M.Ed.
There is also an Instructional Leader Licensure program specialization delivered through off-campus cohorts meeting at various locations.
Also under the Administration and Supervision major is a concentration in Agricultural Education Leadership leading to the M.Ed.
The major in Library Science leads to a Master in Library Science (M.L.S.).
A major in Professional Counseling includes programs leading to an Ed.S., with concentrations
also available in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling.
Professors create meaningful learning opportunities
As a recent graduate, I can say with complete confidence that Middle Tennessee State
University’s Online Specialist in Education, Curriculum and Instruction Major (C/I),
w/Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and Learning Process (CC/LP) graduate degree
program contained the most enriching coursework that I have experienced as a college
student. From the time of my first class, it was apparent that Dr. Young has a holistic
view of education regarding past, present, and future. Given the demographic trends
in education, cutting edge discoveries in the the field of neuroscience, current events,
and everything in between, I cannot imagine a more relevant and forward-thinking curriculum
than what Dr. Young has developed for this program. I was initially skeptical and
nervous about the online learning platform, but I ended up loving it. The electronic
discussion board forums were more riveting than they would have been in person because
there was more time to contemplate each response and process everyone’s unique perspective spanning many diverse and professional backgrounds. Despite never
meeting face-to-face in person, I felt / feel a special connection to my former classmates.
In my opinion, the CC/LP program naturally attracts an open-minded and passionate
group of graduate students. Also, Dr. Young, as instructor and advisor, motivated
each of us to be reflective practitioners through assignments / feedback aligned with
her pedagogical beliefs in terms of creating as many meaningful learning opportunities
as possible. The textbooks and resource materials were pragmatic, engaging to read,
and very informative. As a matter of fact, I have found myself rereading portions
of textbooks to incorporate into my own teaching. I cannot express my gratitude enough
for how much this EdS program has accelerated my professional as well as personal
development. I would recommend the program to any life-long learner interested in
increasing their content knowledge while also gaining a deeper understanding self
and how to better educate via an increased sensitivity ot learners’ multifaceted needs.
Everett James, Summer 2021
Courses are organized, detailed with perfect amount of challenges
The two classes that I completed Spring 2021 have had the biggest impact on me as
a teacher! They were more beneficial than any courses that I’ve ever taken... Before
I began this program, I was a very factual thinker that had a mental block when it
came to reflective thinking. I still need work in that area, but I have come so far
with reflective thinking due to my course work, interaction with classmates, and participation
in online class assignments and activities. This ability has changed the way that
I teach. The Human Diversity in Learning Environments and Brain-Based Teaching and
Learning courses that I just completed have changed my way of thinking about a lot
of things in the world. It opened my eyes to issues that were oblivious to me. I
also discovered a lot about myself as a person. I am so happy that I made the leap
and began the online Educational Specialist CC/LP program last year. The format for
our online courses is very organized and detailed with the perfect amount of challenges...
I am fortunate to have had the guidance and critiques from professors as the knowledge
gained will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Sarah Peralta, Spring 2021
Program exceeds all expectations
As an Iraqi refugee who fled Iraq in hopes of finding a better life and educational
opportunities, this Ed.S. online degree with Specialization in Culture, Cognition,
and the Learning Process has been everything I was looking for! After completed my
Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in English as a
Second Language from MTSU, I knew that it wasn’t the end of my learning journey. As
I was exploring the various graduate programs at MTSU and other universities, I couldn’t
help but read more about the Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) with Specialization
in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process. I find myself learning many new things
on daily basis and being able to apply my learning in my ESL classroom. Learning about
other cultures, meeting students’ needs, brain-based teaching strategies, and many
other topics have been eye opening experiences. As a refugee who came to this country
11 years ago, every class that I have taken so far has given me the ability to reflect
on my own personal, educational, and teaching experiences. I find myself reflecting
with passion to many of the issues we discuss in our weekly discussion boards along
with our assigned assignments. I find myself learning more about who I am as an individual
who lives in the American culture. I’m constantly finding myself growing professionally
and personally as I do the required readings and the other requirements. My journey
isn’t finished yet; however, the program has definitely exceeded my expectations so
far. I have shared my experiences with the other ESL teachers that I work with in
our district and encourage them to consider this degree option in their educational
future. As a working mother, wife, and teacher I didn’t want to pursue a degree that
I wasn’t interested in. I also was looking for an online program that I would be able
to do since I’m a full-time teacher. As an individual, I usually struggle to reflect
and to learn with passion if the topic isn’t within my interest. I’m thankful for
making the decision to enroll in this program, and it has been my passion outside
of work hours. The classes have all been so interactive and I have been able to connect
with the other classmates and find myself relating to their shared experiences and
knowledge. All of the classes have focused on newly-emerging research and topics that
are of high interest with classroom applicability. As an English as a Second Language
teacher, I think of my English learners’ needs the entire time. I work with students
who have various ethnic backgrounds and meeting their needs is a challenging task.
The classes have been a resource for me. I have been able to apply my learning within
my own classroom, and I’m happy to say that a lot of the strategies that I have implemented
have helped my students grow academically. Leadership is what makes an online program
a success. I was hesitant at first to pursue this online degree because I wasn’t sure
what type of support I would be getting from the professors. Dr. Young has been a
supportive professor and supervisor since day one. Her expectations are very clear
and precise and she is always available. She never let us feel it’s an online class
because she constantly communicates with us via discussions and emails. Her academic
feedback is really helpful and it has given me the opportunity to grow academically
as a writer and a reflector. I’m so appreciative of her and the other professors that
I have taken classes with because they have made this learning journey a joyful one.
I can’t wait to see what the remaining classes have in store for me!
Zena Mohsen, Spring 2020
Online program helped graduate grow as instructional librarian
I am currently pursuing and an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) with Specialization
in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process at Middle Tennessee State University
(MTSU) and enjoying the academic journey. I chose MTSU’s online Ed.S. Degree program
after exploring various other degree programs at various colleges because I knew it
would help me grow as an instructional librarian. This degree met all of my requirements:
a completely online program, a focus on emerging research regarding cognition and
brain-based learning strategies, and an ability to be applicable to my current role
which includes instruction – not held necessarily in a K12 classroom. My experience
in this program has exceeded all of my expectations. The classes are interactive and
engaging, with well-chosen texts and rigorous assignments that are applicable to anyone
who teaches or works in education or many other settings. The courses focus on diversity
issues and newly-emerging research findings in cognitive science and educational psychology.
I happy to say I have readily been able to apply course content to my teaching situations
and interactions with my students. As a result of my studies, I have improved a professional
development session I conduct by integrating newly-learned cognitive concepts into
my presentation. I love learning new ideas, but learning how to apply these ideas
effectively is even more important! During every course, I find myself applying newly-acquired
theories and concepts into my lesson planning and everyday instruction. The reflection
activities in each class also help me grow as an instructor and as a person. One of
the most impressive aspects of the program is the readily-available support from professors.
My professors communicate clearly and concisely in a prompt manner, responding to
questions and course emails quickly and regularly engaging with us on interactive
electronic discussion boards. Assignment feedback is extensive and elicits further
thinking and reflection. I have appreciated such helpful and encouraging graduate
school professors as it has made my online learning experience even better than I
Julie Lewis, Spring 2019
Program allowed graduate to combine passions
For years I had been considering going back to school and had been searching for
a program which allowed me to pursue an advanced degree but also combined my passions
and fit my schedule. When I found the Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction
with the Specialization in Culture, Cognition and the Learning Process, I knew I
had finally found the program I was seeking. As a music therapist with a background
in neurologic music therapy working full time in the special education department
of a highly diverse school system, this program has guided me as I dug deeper into
the neurologic and cultural factors that impact the learning process and the students
I serve. The understanding that I have gained also provides additional insight for
me as I work on a contract basis with a major publisher on their preschool curriculum.
The education I am receiving is preparing me for potential new avenues in the future
while also guiding me to cutting edge research to use in my daily work. While the
program has been very challenging to complete as a busy, middle aged working adult,
I have found that Dr. Young and my classmates have been very supportive. Although
it is an online program, I have developed friendships with some wonderful people
and gained great insight while participating in online discussions due to the diverse
backgrounds, experiences and age groups represented. The classes have challenged me
to dive deeper as online discussions and questions from Dr. Young and my classmates
have brought new points to light. Not only are we provided with historical and theoretical
background, but also, we are challenged to apply our new knowledge to situations in
our daily work. This unique concentration has provided rigor, but also flexibility
to meet my personal interests and needs.
Ann Jones, Fall 2018
Program gives tools to graduate to empower students during challenges
The Education Specialist Degree Program at MTSU with Specialization in Culture, Cognition,
and the Learning Process was the perfect opportunity for me to expand my knowledge
and understanding while being able to continue in my professional role in education
as a School Social Worker and College Access Advisor. The population of students in
our schools is becoming increasingly diverse, and I found that the course work in
this specific graduate program opened my eyes to the challenges that our students
face and gave me the practical tools to walk alongside my students and empower them
to overcome challenges and reach their goals. This program also inspired me to take
a deep look inside myself and the educational system around me to evaluate cultural
bias in order to be a change agent in creating a space where all children can succeed.
I also came away with a deeper understanding of the brain and how to create an optimal
learning environment for my students to flourish. I felt that the online format was
not only perfect for fitting into my busy schedule of a working mother, but also afforded
me the opportunity to make my learning relevant. The topics we were studying applied
directly to my practice with students, and I was able to implement my learning immediately.
The curriculum design for online class format was surprisingly interactive. I felt
that I really got to know my classmates through online discussion and frequent and
specific feedback. The course work was challenging and required a high level of self-determination
and organization, but the insights and practical skills I gained were so worth the
late nights working on course work after the kids went to bed! I have already recommended
this program to many colleagues and feel confident that the experiences I’ve had in
this program will serve to make me a more effective educator.
Jennifer Tedder, Summer 2018
Course content beneficial in daily practice as adminstrator, teacher
As a graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University enrolled in the Educational
Specialist Online Degree Program, Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning
Process, I was able to study culture and cognition in a variety of classes which have
propelled my desire to research education trends. In particular, my research has evolved
to focus on the impact of social media and technology on bullying. Although the work
has been challenging, my desire for knowledge inspires me nightly to continue my studies
and research further into entering a doctoral program. The experiences within the
EdS online classes at MTSU provided me with a solid foundation and opportunity to
enhance my understanding of higher education, not only in an elementary, middle and
high school administrator setting, but also in a collegial one. This program has been
especially beneficial with my work as headmaster in an extremely diverse boarding
school environment. The diversity classes allowed me to develop a new empathy and
deeper relationships with my students. Furthermore, Dr. Young created a program that
allowed me to improve in my daily work. She has been extremely diligent and timely
in all her correspondence within the classes and as an academic advisor. I gained
a tremendous amount of information from the program. I found various courses’ content
and supplemental readings beneficial with regard not only to theory but also to application
in my daily practice as an administrator and teacher.
Tabetha Sullens, Spring 2018
Program offers perfect view from past to future
Teachers today walk into classrooms that parallel the demographic and cultural changes
found in the world at large. “In today’s educational mirror, each moment in our day
is filled with reflections of new theories and norms much different from our younger
surroundings,” says Rita Jane Jones, a student pursuing MTSU’s Culture, Cognition,
and the Learning Process specialization in Curriculum and Instruction (CC/LP). “Our
classrooms are filled with a bright array of languages and expectations from many
cultures.” Jones explains further that the program is giving her “a perfect view from
the past to our future. For me, this Ed.S. degree celebrates each human being where
she/he is, combining teaching methods with social and cognitive applications of how
we learn. I find each course truly inspiring. I especially appreciate the Brain-Based
Learning, Multicultural Education, and Human Learning curriculum. Each of these classes
helps me see with fresh eyes.” The program’s in-depth class offerings have given her
tools to further her research toward equality and individual inclusion, Jones says.
“I believe this program to be a lens, showing me many mindful opportunities to share
and learn from each of our journeys.”
Rita Jane Jones, Fall 2017