The student teacher

Last fall, Joanna Schimizzi enrolled in the master’s of edu­ca­tion pro­gram at Northeastern’s grad­uate campus in Char­lotte with one goal in mind: pro­fes­sional development.

“I had some gaps in my knowl­edge that I wanted to address,” explained Schimizzi, a biology teacher at the David W. Butler High School in Matthews, N.C. “I didn’t feel like I had enough expo­sure to cur­rent edu­ca­tion research and knew I couldn’t teach myself.”

She focused on edu­ca­tion lit­eracy, taking a com­bi­na­tion of 11 online and face-​​to-​​face courses ranging from teacher devel­op­ment to lin­guis­tics. One of her favorite courses explored culture’s effect on access to edu­ca­tion, social mobility, and per­sonal iden­tity, lessons from which she has already applied to her classroom.

“Now,” she said, “I’m more aware of the impor­tance of stu­dent diver­sity and have the tools to help me reach all stu­dents.” One such tool is the dig­ital port­folio, which she imple­mented this fall in order to help her stu­dents “track their achieve­ment and take own­er­ship of their work.”

Schimizzi will grad­uate from the master’s pro­gram on Sat­urday, becoming one of the first two alumni of Northeastern-​​Charlotte. A Mac­Far­land Scholar, she is a thriving example of the university’s ongoing com­mit­ment to training pro­fes­sionals in fields that are vital to the growth of the greater Char­lotte region.

The Char­lotte campus opened in October 2011 and is based on a hybrid delivery model that inte­grates online and class­room learning. Ear­lier this year, the campus launched 10 new degree pro­grams in areas ranging from energy sys­tems to infor­ma­tion assurance—which more than dou­bled the campus’ aca­d­emic offer­ings. Northeastern-​​Charlotte is the first, and only, insti­tu­tion based out­side of North Car­olina that has been approved to offer doc­toral programs—of which North­eastern offers three, including the master’s of edu­ca­tion program.

The hybrid approach is ideal for working pro­fes­sionals like Schimizzi because it com­bines the tra­di­tional ben­e­fits of face-​​to-​​face instruc­tion with the flex­i­bility of online learning, which, she said, enabled her to “interact with people across the nation and around the world.”

Building col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ships has been a key com­po­nent of Schimizzi’s career suc­cess. A few years ago, she launched a men­tor­ship pro­gram in which high school stu­dents dis­cuss their aca­d­emic goals with com­mu­nity members.

“It’s not a tutoring ses­sion, but an oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents to talk to someone out­side of their par­ents and teachers,” explained Schimizzi, who was named a 2012 MeckED Teacher of Excel­lence as a result of the program’s suc­cess. “Some stu­dents get lost in the crowd and end up finding sup­port and moti­va­tion by working with a mentor.”

Schimizzi was also selected by the non­profit edu­ca­tion group America Achieves to par­tic­i­pate in last year’s NBC Edu­ca­tion Nation Summit in New York City, which con­vened more than 300 of the country’s thought leaders in edu­ca­tion, gov­ern­ment, busi­ness, phil­an­thropy, and media. But the recog­ni­tion paled in com­par­ison to the joy she derives from fos­tering stu­dent suc­cess, the greatest of which, she said, is “having the oppor­tu­nity to help each of my stu­dents reach their potential.”

Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a comprehensive, global research university. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 165 graduate programs, ranging from professional master’s degrees to interdisciplinary PhD programs. Northeastern’s research enterprise is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Northeastern students participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning in 90 countries on all seven continents.