Master’s in Human Resource Development in Leadership

EMPOWER Graduate Program FAQ

Updated 8/2018

Q: What is the EMPOWER Project?

A: EMPOWER (English learners Moving to Proficient Outcomes With Engagement and Rigor) is a five year grant to Towson University from the US Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition, to fund teacher professional development related to English learners. EMPOWER is a partnership program focused on equipping teachers to serve an increasingly diverse student body and cultivate the achievement of English language learners and all culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Q: What is the EMPOWER Graduate Program?

A: The Towson University EMPOWER Graduate program provides fellowship award funding for teachers to complete a 36-hour Master’s in Instructional Leadership (Admin I) with ESOL and special education coursework embedded. Participants who pass the Praxis II exam in ESOL are eligible to apply for an endorsement in ESOL to complement their existing certificate.

Q: What are some potential job opportunities with this degree:


  • Principal
  • Vice Principal
  • ESOL teacher
  • Curriculum developer

Q: What coursework does the Master’s program offer?


  • 18 credits in leadership, 18 credits in ESOL/ culturally responsive practices
  • 2 courses per Fall semester (6 credit hours), 2 courses per Spring semester (6 credit hours) for the next three years, with a program completion date of May 2021
  • Each semester’s 2 courses will run for 8 weeks, with one week break in between courses
  • 1 course per semester will be online and one course will meet at an AACPS location once weekly (likely 4:30-8:45). At least four of these courses will meet at Monarch Academy locations; the remaining two will likely meet at another convenient AACPS location to conform to MHEC accreditation requirements.
  • No summer coursework
  • 12 credits per year, 3 years total


  • What else does this program of study offer?


  • Courses offered in AA County, anticipated to be at Monarch Academy campuses or other convenient locations (or online) after school hours
  • Some courses will include a hybrid or online component
  • ESOL coursework embedded throughout
  • 3-credit internship at end of program (completed during your regular work environment)
  • Review modules developed by Towson University faculty to help you prepare to pass ESOL Praxis II exam

Q: What is the Course Sequence?

A:  Our tentative (subject to change) course sequence is as follows:

  • ILPD 716: Leadership of the Schools (course 1, Fall 2018, online)
  • SPED 633: School, Family and Community Engagement for Diverse Populations (course 2, Fall 2018, face-to-face)
  • ILPD 667: Curriculum and Assessment for Instructional Leaders (course 3, Spring 2019, online)
  • SPED 644: Universal Design for Learning and Differentiated Instruction (Course 4, Spring 2019, face-to-face)
  • ILPD 740: Evidence-Based Decision Making (Course 5, Fall 2019, online)
  • SPED 631: Classroom Strategies and Interventions for Diverse Populations or REED 651, Instruction/ Assessment for ELs (course 6, Fall 2019, face-to-face)
  • ILPD 603: School Law (Course 7, Spring 2020, online)
  • SPED 641: Curriculum and Methods of Instruction for Students with Disabilities (Course 8, Spring 2020, face-to-face)
  • ILPD 781: Supervision and Evaluation (Course 9, Fall 2020, online)
  • SPED 632: Assessment for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students (Course 10, Fall 2020, face-to-face)
  • ILPD 797: Internship (Course 11, Spring 2021, online)
  • REED 652: Linguistics for Teachers of Language and Literacy (Course 12, Spring 2021, face-to-face)

Q: What is the Funding Structure for the Graduate Program?


Each Fall and Spring semester of the EMPOWER Graduate Program, you will be enrolled in two courses: Course A and Course B. Each semester, your EMPOWER Graduate Fellowship award of $2202 will be applied to your TU Student Aid account to pay for the tuition amount for Course A ($1,452) and half of the tuition for Course B ($750).  The remaining half of tuition costs for Course B ($750), will appear on your TU Billing Statement each semester as the portion of tuition for which you are responsible to self-pay.

TU makes no representation about the availability of tuition reimbursement, nor is TU or the EMPOWER Project involved in the tuition reimbursement process. However, you are welcome to seek reimbursement from AACPS for your portion of tuition if you meet AACPS eligibility requirements.

Q: What other important information should I know? 

A: This is a federally funded grant.  Funding each year is contingent on renewal of the OELA grant, which is dependent on federal budget status and agency decisions. We have no reason to expect funding will be terminated early, but if this were to occur, your fellowship funding would be discontinued.

Q: What Participant Commitments are required? 


  • Attendance at all class meetings and activities held at either Monarch Global, Monarch Annapolis or other AACPS sites (18 credits)
  • Attendance of all online classes and completion of all assigned online coursework (18 credits)
  • Payment of $750 for each of the six semesters of the Master’s program
  • Payment of book costs in excess of $50 per course and payment of Praxis II in ESOL registration costs
  • MUST register to take Praxis II examination in ESOL in the final year and commit to retaking it at least once if a passing score is not received. Failure to comply with this requirement may trigger retroactive loss of funding.
  • Attendance at 1-2 program meetings per semester (orientation and ongoing focus groups to provide feedback) and 1-2 events at EMPOWER site schools during the academic year related to CLD learners
  • Good-faith effort to attend designated school or PD events at school sites (2-4 per year) related to CLD learners
  • Completion of all courses offered as part of the program (barring exceptional or extenuating circumstances) and continuing satisfactory academic progress in the program
  • Maintaining professionalism, including confidentiality with student information and appreciation for CLD learners and their families, during the course of the program
  • Maintain good standing in the program to continue
  • Good-faith effort to finish program (exceptions for extenuating circumstances)

Q: What are some important dates to remember for the upcoming Fall 2018 courses?

A: Course A, ILPD 716, will run from August 27th through mid-October; Fall 2018 Couse B, SPED 633, will run from October 18th through December 20th, meeting on Thursday evenings.

Q: Where will face-to-face classes meet?  

A: We will make every effort to locate the face-to-face courses at our partner schools, Monarch Academy Annapolis and Monarch Global Academy in Laurel.  However, please be aware that due to accreditation requirements, MSDE limits the number of courses we can offer at school sites which have not previously been approved by MHEC.  Therefore, we do anticipate that while four of your face-to-face courses will meet at Monarch campuses, it’s likely two will meet at other AACPS locations, most likely Bates or Four Seasons, which are in relatively close proximity to the Monarch campuses. Should you have questions at any time about course registration, scheduling and locations, please contact Ms. Kippi Sutphen at the TLN office (

 Q: How do I register for classes each fall and spring semester?

A: All registration information will be shared with you through our Towson Learning Network office (TLN). You’ll receive information from TLN Academic Program Specialist Kippi Sutphen, on how to register for your classes and the assigned location for each.

Q: Who can answer academic and program-related questions?

A: Your graduate program advisor in the ILPD program, Dr. Carla Finkelstein .

Q: Who should I contact with questions about the EMPOWER Project or my commitments under the grant?

A: Please contact Project Manager, Mrs. Danielle Turner or Principal Investigator, Dr. Patricia Rice Doran

Q: Where can I get up to date information on the EMPOWER graduate program?


Q: Where can I access a family and community engagement resources?


Helpful Links:






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