Dr. Cindy McPhail, Program Director of TESOL Nazareth College


Dr. Cindy McPhail, Program Director of TESOL Certification Masters Degree Programs at Nazareth College, joins us today to discuss Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

1. Can you tell us about the Masters in TESOL (MSEd TESOL) programs offered at Nazareth College?

Nazareth College offers three different Masters in TESOL options: The Initial Certification TESOL Program (43 credits) is ideal for someone who does not have a background in education who wants to teach school-age students of different cultures and language backgrounds.  

The Additional Certification TESOL Program (36 credits) is ideal for someone who has NYS teacher certification in any area, seeks professional certification in New York State, and wants New York state teacher certification for English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).  

The TESOL Masters Degree Program (30-credits) is ideal for both international students and native speakers of English who wish to earn a master’s degree in TESOL. (This program is not for initial New York State certification in ESOL.)

2. How long does a typical Masters in TESOL program take at Nazareth College? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion?

The Initial Certification Program can be completed in a year and a half of full time study. The Additional Certification Program can be completed in one calendar year of full time study. The TESOL Masters Degree Program can be completed in one calendar year of full time study. All of the programs may be taken part time. The maximum time for completion is five years.

3. What do you think makes Nazareth College’s  Masters in TESOL stand out from other similar programs?

Our faculty members have had authentic teaching experiences and demonstrate a realistic balance of theory and practice. Faculty members support local public school instruction, conduct classroom research, evaluate Fulbright Scholarship applications and evaluate edTPA portfolios. We are intimately familiar with the needs and realities of teachers of ELLs in New York State and beyond. Our program prepares teacher candidates to use an array of written resources, technologies, and methods to create engaging learning experiences and to differentiate for students of different ages, first-language backgrounds, and prior school experiences.

4. How important would you say accreditation is when choosing a MATESOL program?

Anyone who is going to invest in a degree must be sure that the degree is fully accredited. Nazareth College is accredited through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) – which is among the premier accrediting associations in the world. The School of Education Programs are accredited through the consolidated Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

5. What are the advantages to earning a Masters in TESOL degree in general?

A Masters in TESOL is far superior to a 6 or 8 week certificate in TESOL, and the Masters degree at Nazareth College more authentically prepares teacher candidates for the challenges of instruction. Teacher candidates observe in a variety of ESOL settings prior to taking on the responsibilities of student teaching placements. Graduates are qualified to apply for full and/or part time ESOL positions in NYS, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship awards, full and/or part time teaching positions in the USA and abroad, and higher education positions in English language instruction in the USA and abroad.

6. Does Nazareth College offer job placement for students who graduate in the Masters in TESOL?

The Office of Career Services at Nazareth College supports teacher candidates through career fairs and on-campus recruitment, resume and cover-letter support, mock interviews, career guidance, support for applying to graduate schools, and maintenance of credential files.  Full-time, part-time, summer, and work study job postings are updated daily in our online HireAFlyer system. Students and alumni register to search available positions and to create a job "search agent" to get e-mail notifications when a new position is added that matches desired search criteria.

7. What type of financial aid packages are available for students in TESOL? Are there any fellowships, grants and scholarships available?

Nazareth College offers Graduate Assistantships on a competitive basis. Additionally, we have scholarships available through the TLQP (Teacher Leader Quality Partnership Program) and TOC (Teacher Opportunity Corps) programs for qualified candidates.

8. Do you have any advice for students enrolling in a MATESOL program for the first time?

When writing entrance essays, explain why you are interested in TESOL as opposed to other areas of education.

9. What do you enjoy most about your position at Nazareth College?

Nazareth College has a gorgeous campus. I’m grateful to be able to teach in such a beautiful location that has easy parking! I’m also grateful that faculty members are able to stay connected to the greater Rochester area community. ESOL services are provided in a variety of ways in our area (bilingual programs, refugee/newcomer programs, long term ELL programs, push-in, resource room, etc.). Nazareth teacher candidates are prepared to work in any of these settings through instruction provided by experienced ESOL educators, and through authentic experiences observing and teaching.

For more information on the TESOL programs offered at Nazareth College, visit them online: www.naz.edu

Thank you Dr. Cindy McPhail, for sharing and participating in this piece.

That concludes our interview!