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New masters program within School of Education aims to set graduates apart

Maters of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship
Peabody Hall is home to UNC's School of Education, where you can now pursue a MEITE: Masters of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

A masters program in the UNC School of Education combines business, education and technology — and the priority deadline for financial awards is on Feb. 12.

The Masters in Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship is a hybrid professional degree within the School of Education that gives students business, educational and technological skills to be successful entrepreneurs.

The program started three years ago. Keith Sawyer, Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations, took the lead in its creation, researching programs across the nation and creating a model.

At the core of MEITE is a combination of learning sciences, which encompasses what we understand about how people learn from empirical research, said Jeff Greene, associate dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Education. He said learning sciences is an aspect of UNC's program that sets them apart from the education programs at Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University. 

“What I think makes our program really distinctive is that learning science piece, and we try really hard to help our students understand theory and empirical research on learning so that they can be really informed creators of innovative technology solutions,” Greene said. 

The program gives students expertise in the science of how people learn so they can intelligently evaluate new technologies and make educated decisions about how and when to use them. 

Students in MEITE have the opportunity to take classes at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, a relationship the School of Education values, Greene said. Sawyer said students are able to learn about important facets of business, such as venture capital, how to give a pitch and how to iterate through a design cycle. These skills stretch beyond the expertise of the School of Education, allowing students to learn how to be entrepreneurs. 

“We are preparing people to go out there and start companies,” Sawyer said.

This is evident with Shange Song, a MEITE student. Song is an English teacher from China who came to UNC specifically for the MEITE program. Song said the intensive program gave her the necessary skill set to go back to China to launch her own business, which she already has the name, logo and content for. 

Students enrolled with MEITE also participate in an internship. They are placed in educational ventures in the Triangle area, a good supplement to traditional classwork, Sawyer said. He also said internships allow students to practice through learning and bring back their experiences to be discussed in a classroom setting. 

“You have a set of skills that I think is just incredibly marketable,” Sawyer said. 

Inside the classroom, students can expect MEITE to be a collaborative learning environment. Song said 60 to 70 percent of the work is completed alongside fellow students. MEITE believes its students will benefit if they are knowledgeable collaborators, which Greene said “teaches students to maximize and foster creativity.”

MEITE looks for eager, engaging students, Greene said. Students must apply by Feb. 12 to be considered for financial awards and June 11 for regular admission in Fall 2019.

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