Interview: Lisa Murray-Roselli, EdM, Program Director, Canisius College Graduate Online TESOL/Bilingual Education Program


Lisa Murray-Roselli, EdM, Program Director for the Canisius College Graduate Online TESOL/Bilingual Education Program, joins us today to discuss Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

1. Can you tell us about the Masters in TESOL program offered at Canisius College?

Canisius College offers a completely online Master’s Degree in TESOL with New York State certification in ESOL.

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

Many of our candidates are full-time teachers, so most take 2 courses per semester, completing their degrees in 18 months. We offer many of our courses – in two condensed sessions – during the summer, which makes it easy for teachers to accumulate credits when they have more time on their hands.

Candidates can complete their degrees according to a time frame that works for them.

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

Our program stands out because it offers a trifecta of excellent features, which combine to create an exceptional national and international program:

  • The program is completely online, offering uncommon convenience for working students
  • New York State certification in ESOL is one of the most highly-regarded certifications in the field – teachers with this certification are always in-demand
  • Canisius College is an NCATE/CAEP and Middle States accredited institution with a long history of and strong reputation for excellent academics and professional graduate programs

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

With more online programs flooding the market, accreditation has become a significant marker of excellence. The accrediting bodies are continually ratcheting up their requirements for approval, compelling colleges and universities to provide significant evidence of their programs’ efficacy. Canisius graduates tend to find employment more easily than graduates of comparable private institutions.

5. There is some debate as to whether or not Online MATESOL degrees are as worthwhile as traditional MATESOL degrees. What steps does Canisius College take to ensure that online students are receiving the same education that they'd receive in a classroom?

Canisius College has been offering online courses at the graduate level for several years now. The curricula and course content are identical in rigor to those of our face-to-face courses. In addition, online courses, programs, and faculty are subject to the same evaluation processes as those in the more traditional format. In fact, because each student in an online course is accountable for full participation, it is generally believed that online courses are more demanding and offer greater learning opportunities than their face-to-face counterparts.

6. What are the advantages to earning a MATESOL degree in general?

TESOL is one of the few areas of education that is on the ascent. Teachers with degrees in TESOL are in high-demand and that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. As our nation accepts more responsibility for providing a quality education to English Language Learners (ELLs), the need for well-prepared TESOL educators will continue to grow.

7. Does Canisius College offer job placement for students who graduate in MATESOL?

Canisius has a robust Career Development Services center, serving students and alumni of the college. In addition, for our local students, the Western New York area has a high population of ELLs, so there are plenty of job opportunities.

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

Canisius College’s Financial Aid Office can assist students in finding financial support for their graduate studies. In addition, teachers may be eligible for grant monies from their districts.

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

If possible, spend some time in an ESL classroom or two. There are endless varieties of learning environments and models for ELLs; it is always good to have a bit of experience before entering a graduate professional program.

10. What do you enjoy most about your position at Canisius College?

Working with our students! Because our program is online, we have students all over the world and our US students get to work with populations from all over the world. I love talking with them and learning about what drives them, why they chose the field, what they hope to achieve as an ESL/EFL instructor, and the many ways in which they are inspired by the field and the people they meet. As a certified TESOL instructor, one can go anywhere and teach. I find our students to be passionate, adventurous, and curious – I couldn’t ask for a better professional situation.

For more information on the MATESOL programs offered at Canisius College, visit them online:

Thank you, Lisa Murray-Roselli, for sharing and participating in this piece.

That concludes our interview!