Lyon College launches first graduate program in 150-year history

Lyon College alumna Savannah Youngblood teaches second-grade students at Sulphur Rock...
Lyon College alumna Savannah Youngblood teaches second-grade students at Sulphur Rock Elementary School in the Batesville School District.(Lyon College)
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 1:09 PM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT/Edited News Release) - Just six months after being approved by the Higher Learning Commission to offer graduate and online programs, Lyon College has officially launched its first graduate program in its 150-year history.

Beginning this fall, the newly christened Lyon College Center for Transformative Teaching and Leadership will offer a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program that is designed for individuals who want practical, hands-on experience teaching in a classroom and working with students directly while earning a graduate degree.

“Like many states, Arkansas is experiencing a severe shortage of teachers,” said Dr. Anthony Grafton, Lyon College Provost. “We are excited that our first graduate degree will address this shortage and focus on creating unique pathways for individuals to become highly skilled educators. Additionally, I’m personally very happy that people in this region of Arkansas can now continue their education through this program without ever leaving the area.”

Dr. Kimberly Crosby, Director of the Center, said the program is ideal for those who hold an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than education and who are seeking a career change and/or licensure to teach.

“The MAT offers an alternative pathway to Arkansas teacher licensure for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and who wish to pursue a career in the teaching profession,” Dr. Crosby said. “The degree provides a firm foundation of professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions through challenging coursework and professional mentoring in conjunction with intensive classroom experience in a year-long classroom residency.”

Candidates may pursue teacher licensure in the following content areas and levels:

  • Elementary education K-6
  • Middle childhood 4-8 in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies
  • Secondary 4-12 in computer science
  • Secondary 7-12 in English/language arts, biology/life science, chemistry, mathematics, and social studies
  • Broad range K-12 in art, foreign languages (French or Spanish), physical education, and music (vocal and/or instrumental)

The 36-credit-hour program is designed to prepare candidates using a hybrid teaching model that blends online coursework with weekly face-to-face meetings offered either remotely or in person.

Candidates beginning the program in a summer term can complete the degree in 15 months, while those beginning in the fall semester will be able to finish in less than two years.

The program offers two pathways to complete the residency requirements:

  • Teaching Residency: Candidates may complete the residency requirement by teaching full-time in the subject area and grade level(s) for which they are seeking licensure. This pathway requires that the candidate be hired as the teacher of record as allowed under state regulations.
  • Traditional Residency: Candidates who are not employed as teacher of record will be placed in a two-semester, half-day internship where they will complete the residency requirements for the degree.

To be unconditionally admitted to the MAT program, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit a completed graduate student application form at
  • Provide an official transcript demonstrating the completion of an undergraduate degree in an eligible discipline from an accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher on a four-point scale or a GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of coursework. If applicable, candidates must also submit official transcripts for any graduate coursework completed.
  • Submit passing scores on the Praxis subject area exam for the desired teaching license.
  • Provide three references. Two references must be professional in nature.
  • Provide a professional goals statement and rationale for seeking admission to the program.
  • Sit for an interview (virtual or in-person) with the admissions committee.

Candidates may be conditionally admitted under the following conditions:

  • The cumulative undergraduate GPA is 2.5 or higher with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on at least 30 credit hours of coursework in the intended teaching discipline.
  • Praxis subject area scores provided are near passing [within two Standard Errors of Measurement (SEM) of the state-required cut score]. Candidates must submit passing scores on all required testing prior to recommendation for licensure.

Prior to placement in an internship classroom, candidates must submit to a criminal history check (Arkansas State Police, FBI, and Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry).

For more information and to apply for admission to the program, please visit or contact Dr. Crosby at