Wayne State College
Hands together as a team

Community of Learning

Take your teaching profession to the next level. Earn your master's degree in education through our unique, community-focused program. New community cohorts starting in South Sioux City, Fremont, and Norfolk in Fall 2024.

What is the Community of Learning?

For licensed, practicing PK-16 teachers and education professionals, the Community of Learning allows you to earn a master's degree in education in just two years. This hybrid, two-year program is an affordable and convenient way to earn your MSE in curriculum and instruction - instructional leadership from Wayne State College. You’ll spend five Saturdays per semester collaborating and learning with other members in a classroom setting. Through the Community of Learning, you'll drive your own professional development, participating in an accredited learning model that is backed by research and evidence. If you want to master the art, science and craft of teaching, this is the perfect opportunity to further your own education and career, while helping to change students' lives.


Program of Study

Program Features

  • Renew and continue your personal and professional growth

  • Learn about relevant education issues that support research-based practices

  • Participate in activities and conversations to enhance problem-solving skills

  • Learn to create proposals for improving practices and system changes

  • Collaborate to create, organize, maintain, and evaluate communities that encourage leadership and stewardship

  • Refine leadership skills and values required to lead in your profession


Join a Community. Continue your personal and professional growth while learning with others.

Is this for me?

Those who are most successful in this format value personal and professional learning and growth. They respect the profession and want to become master teachers, and thrive on the opportunity to learn with others who share similar goals and passions.


We offer a a variety of community locations for your convenience. Current locations include:
  • Fremont*
  • Norfolk*
  • South Sioux City*
  • Aruba

*New communities starting at these sites in Fall 2024

Community Format

  • Communities meet five Saturdays per semester (once per month), from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Communities are facilitated by college professors and qualified practitioners in the field
  • Composed of 20-40 learners/members in a community cohort from all subject areas, grade levels, and special service areas
  • Participants support one another through face-to-face and online discussions throughout the two years.
  • During the summers, you can complete approved electives and prepare literature reviews to complement classroom research and application. Some electives are part of additional endorsement opportunities.

Program Benefits

  • Focused on individualized professional development
  • Centered around one's own unique problem of practice
  • Rooted in evidenced- and research-based practice
  • Uses action research methodology to study and improve practice
  • Enjoyable and convenient
  • Affordable
  • Accredited (state, regionally, and nationally)

A Typical Saturday Session

  • Opening circle with the community
  • Small group work based on your problem of practice, job, educational interests, or literary research
  • Site 'council' meetings to check in with each learner / member
  • Active learning experiences
  • Individual, small group, and whole community opportunities to broaden and deepen one's understanding of course concepts
  • Interact with expert guest speakers
  • Extensive integration of multimedia and technology by community members and facilitators
  • Closing circle with the community

Between Sessions

  • Further exploration of topics through readings
  • Online interaction with other learners of program
  • Opportunity to apply learning in your own work setting
  • Written reflections and other documentation of learning and growth


Do I have to be a practicing teacher to join?

The program is designed for licensed, practicing teachers and others who work in educational settings. You need an educational environment to apply your learning. Example: as the learning community explores a topic of authentic assessment, you will need a place to apply your learning in your work setting and gather evidence of learning and improvement. In some cases this can be done in the role of a parent educator, an early childhood educator, a post-secondary instructor, or a curriculum and instruction/staff developer. Part-time and substitute teachers are also encouraged to participate in the program. You simply need to collaborate with a classroom teacher who might be a community learning colleague or someone in a school near where you live or work.

What happens if I can't make a Saturday session?

The attendance expectation is 100%. Adult students may have life circumstances that result in missing parts of a Saturday session. Absence must be worked out with the other learners and facilitators in your community. Keep in mind that missing a session is like missing 15-20 hours of an on-campus program - a significant loss of learning time and something that carries consequences and is not to be taken lightly. When someone is absent not only is that person unable to receive and take part in the learning but the rest of the community is unable to tap into his or her expertise and to expand the learning. You need to maintain the highest of expectations for your learning. Participating in the learning experiences is part of those expectations. A plan of action needs to be designed, approved and implemented to address the hours not in attendance.

Can someone join the program after the first Saturday session?

We understand some individuals may want to join after the first Saturday if a colleague should return to school and invite others to get involved with the instructional leadership program. If someone wants to joins the second session, he or she will need to complete the admissions form and other paperwork prior to the second Saturday and be responsible for assignments from the first Saturday.

How long do I have to complete the MSE?

Officially you have 10 years from the date you begin the program to complete it. Candidates will almost always complete their work in two years along with the others in their community. If you need an extension of more than one semester to complete the program of study, you will have to make special arrangements with your facilitators and the Graduate Office - this circumstance should be rare.

What happens if I have to drop out of the program?

You would need to notify your facilitators, your advisor, and the School of Education and Counseling Office.

What is the cost of the program?

The MSE in Curriculum and Instruction is a 36-hour graduate program. Costs per credit hour vary, depending on residency. 
View current tuition and fees

Payment options:

View instructions on making payments, including payment method options and policies. Contact the Student Financial Services Office at 402-375-7229 for additional inquiries.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Because you will be enrolled at least half- time, you may qualify for a federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan (DL). The DL program provides loans of up to $20,500 per year for graduate students. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest while the student is enrolled. Students must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year.  The FAFSA can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. For more information, contact the Student Financial Services Office at 402-375-7229 or by email at [email protected].

If you are receiving financial aid and it is not processed prior to the payment due date, you must be prepared to pay the balance due from other means by the due date. All fees must be paid in full before you can register for the next semester. Students qualifying for Veterans Administration benefits should contact the Records and Registration Office at 402-375-7239.


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Questions? Contact:

Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership
Benthack Hall 111

Recognized for Excellence

Wayne State College is continually recognized for academic excellence, incredible value, successful graduates, and innovative learning.

Best Curriculum and Instruction Master's Degree Schools, 2023 - College Factual

A "Top 50" School in the U.S.

Most Focused Curriculum & Instruction Master's Degree, 2023

College Factual

Cheapest Online College and University - Intelligent.com

No. 1 in Nebraska; No. 11 in the U.S.

Most Affordable Online School, 2023


Most Affordable Online Master's Degree 2021

No. 3 in the U.S.

Most Affordable Online Master's Programs, 2023


Most Affordable College 2020

No. 5 in the U.S.

Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees

Great Value Colleges


"This program is amazing! I have learned so much from the members of the community, more than I ever learned in any class. It's like having 40 professors, plus the facilitators push you to try new things and to expand your mind and way of thinking. The ability to take this class and be in the classroom at the same time allows for amazing things to take place. Ideas that I take from the weekend I can incorporate into my class right away and then bring back the results to my community the next month. The sharing of experiences is where the learning takes place. My walls have been broken and my ideas have been changed because of this class and for that I am thankful. I would strongly recommend this program to any teacher who really wants to become a better teacher!"


Jonathan Hartman

Math Teacher, Fremont Middle School 

A Degree in Cooperative Education / Diversified Occupations

Take the Next Step

Communities form each fall and have a maximum number of participants. Apply today and reserve your spot. Encourage your colleagues to join and learn together.