Mercer wordmark

New Mercer Ph.D. Program Aims
to Create High-Performing Educators

April 14, 2009

Program Contact:
Joann Bass
(478) 301-5394

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON/ATLANTA — Mercer University is launching a new Ph.D. program in curriculum and instruction this fall that will help experienced teachers upgrade their own skills and become influential instructors and researchers within their schools, school systems and communities.

Mercer’s Tift College of Education devised the three-year program to meet the vital need for experienced and dynamic teachers by developing a program that will promote the exchange of new ideas and possibilities across a variety of settings. The first students in the hybrid evening/Online program will begin in cohorts this fall at Mercer’s Macon and Atlanta campuses. The program is designed for working professional teachers with at least three years of experience and a master’s level certification.

“Graduates of this program will serve in schools, in higher education and in political arenas working toward the implementation of effective education today and in the future,” said Dr. Margaret Morris, chair of the College of Education’s teacher education programs for Macon and Eastman. “We created this program to meet the needs of those societal changes that are placing an ever-increasing emphasis upon the evolving role of the professional educator. Leadership in curriculum and instruction is crucial to today’s educational system, where accountability is at its highest level, tax dollars are limited and competition within a global community is escalating. Our program will prepare curriculum and instructional leaders who have a theoretical and practical knowledge base of the curriculum, the instruction and the learner.”

The curriculum and instruction doctoral program joins the Tift College of Education’s highly successful Ph.D. in educational leadership, which includes P-12 school leadership and higher education leadership tracks and currently enrolls more than 100 students.

The Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction will be offered in two tracks, the early learner track and the adolescent learner track. The program will take a minimum of three years, or nine semesters, including summers, to complete. Classes will be delivered in a hybrid format – both Online and in evening or weekend courses – allowing candidates to continue as teachers. Candidates will take an average of two courses per semester during the school year, with a two-hour doctoral seminar each semester and three courses during the summer semester.

“In addition to upgrading a current teaching certificate to a T-7 level, completion of this program will prepare experienced teachers to develop, initiate and model best practices within their own classrooms and schools,” said Dr. Allison Gilmore, associate dean and chair of the Atlanta Campus graduate teacher education program. “This degree will also provide them with the knowledge, the expertise and the degree credential needed to teach university-level classes and to contribute to the existing body of professional knowledge about curriculum and instruction through both quantitative and qualitative research. We are confident that graduates of this program will have a positive and substantial effect on educational practice through the development and implementation of new approaches and innovative strategies.”

The program’s final application deadline for admission for the Fall 2009 cohorts is June 30. For more information or an application packet, contact Joann Bass at (478) 301-5394 or or visit the program’s Web page at

About the Tift College of Education:
Mercer’s Tift College of Education is the largest private preparer of teachers in Georgia and offers a variety of professional education programs at its six sites. The College, the University’s largest with more than 1,800 students, holds the highest accreditation in the nation from The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The College offers diverse programs and degrees, ranging from initial certification programs to doctorates. In addition to a Bachelor of Science in Education, which leads to initial certification, the school offers a Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Specialist of Education and Ph.D. in educational leadership, as well as a joint Master of Science in School Counseling with the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. The College will launch a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in the fall of 2009.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has approximately 7,600 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
— 30 —