In the coming months, Endicott College plans to take major steps to broaden its educational footprint in the region.
In June, the Beverly college will open its first satellite campus on the North Shore in Gloucester, and come September, Endicott will launch a teacher training program that will help Haverhill educators to earn master’s degrees close to their classrooms.
“We feel it’s most appropriate to go on site and provide education in a comfortable and meaningful environment,” said Endicott College president Richard E. Wylie.
Beginning next month, Endicott will rent 4,000 square feet of space in an oceanfront office building next to a proposed hotel in downtown Gloucester. The college will create classrooms, laboratories, and office space for local residents who want to earn an undergraduate degree. Undergraduate classes will include marine sciences, biotechnology, hospital management, arts, and a program that will allow working professionals to receive life experience credit toward their degrees.
In the future, the college plans to offer graduate courses in business and education.
Wylie, who began his teaching career at a Gloucester elementary school in 1964, said the coastal city – which is rich in maritime and art history – is a natural location for a college. While the school does not plan to open dorms in the city, Wylie said he hopes students from Endicott’s Beverly campus spend weeks in the city immersed in intensive programs in painting, oral history, marine science, and writing.
“It’s all part of the renaissance of Gloucester,” said Mayor Carolyn Kirk, when asked about Endicott’s decision to set down roots in the city. She said the city and college have been discussing the program since October. “There’s a cachet, certainly, of having an institution of higher learning. The student population brings vibrancy to the downtown; it’s a symbol of intellectual curiosity. And the city’s goal is to have a diverse economy and this is a very important building block. It helps us grow part of the economy – which is the maritime, marine, science and technology segment.”
While the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have a presence in the city, Endicott will be the only college to offer courses to the public in Gloucester.
Meanwhile, Endicott is working with the Haverhill school district to secure classroom space at one of the schools to launch its regional teaching center in the city.
The program, which began last year in North Reading, will offer graduate degrees elementary education, special education, and reading and literacy. In addition, it will hold classes for teaching assistants who want to receive a certificate in applied behavior analysis.
Graduate degree programs take two years of continuous study to complete, and teachers take one class a week within their district – allowing them to earn their degrees without leaving the city.
“It’s just a very convenient service to offer people,” explained Mal Patterson, associate dean for graduate education at Endicott. “They’re interested in pursuing more education and advancing their credentials.”
Haverhill Superintendent James Scully said the advanced degrees would ultimately benefit the city’s students. “We’re not only bringing more expertise but it’s also an opportunity for our people to grow. I believe we need to invest in the people we have in school,” said Scully, who added that teachers will pay for the program but will receive higher pay with an advanced degree.
Scully said the program will also help the district retain qualified educators. “The teacher’s know the system, they know the people, and they’re familiar with the kids so it’s a win-win for everybody.”Steven A. Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WriteRosenberg.