Thursday July 23, 2009

Catholic Education Master's Program Gets Seal of Approval

A University of Dayton graduate program for Catholic educational leaders in the Caribbean region has gained accreditation in Trinidad and Tobago.

The University of Dayton's online master's program for Catholic educational leaders received two-year accreditation in Trinidad and Tobago this week.

The program — a master's in educational leadership with a concentration in Catholic school administration — started in January 2008 to answer a shortage of advanced Catholic school leadership training opportunities in the West Indies, said the Rev. Joseph Massucci, chair of the educational leadership department in the UD School of Education and Allied Professions. The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago granted the accreditation after an extensive self-study, interviews and external evaluations by ACTT assessors.

More than 30 students are enrolled in the 10-course program, which UD offers through the Catholic Religious Educational Development Institute (CREDI) in Trinidad and Tobago. The Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, with the cooperation of the Trinidad and Tobago government, formed the institute in January 2008 to improve higher education opportunities for the local Catholic community, said Sister Angela Ann Zukowski, M.H.S.H., director of UD's Institute for Pastoral Initiatives and an instructor in the master's program. Zukowski has worked with the Caribbean archdiocese for more than 15 years.

"We have a moral responsibility as members of an international faith community to support our Caribbean neighbors," Zukowski said. "By offering UD's academic resources to the Caribbean, we strengthen Catholic education in the Caribbean dioceses and enhance the quality of teaching, learning and educational leadership. We have been working very hard for transnational recognition for the program. We have realized this goal."

Thomas J. Lasley, dean of the University's School of Education and Allied Professions, said the partnership with CREDI is a strong reflection of University of Dayton values.

"Programs such as this represent a significant mission initiative for the University of Dayton," he said. "It is a way of both reaching out to others and also extending our own opportunities."

The CREDI program combines online distance learning with on-site instruction by local facilitators, Massucci said.

"This offers an opportunity for leaders of Catholic schools there to be in a master's degree program that addresses school leadership and administration as well as dimensions that are specific to Catholic schools, such as church documents, culture and Catholic identity," Massucci said.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of media relations, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.