Vance Holmes

Vance Holmes is 1st recipient of Metro State’s Urban Education master’s degree

Metropolitan State University recognizes Vance Holmes as its first recipient of the Master of Science degree in Urban Education. He received a certificate and special acknowledgment from Interim President Devinder Malhotra and Provost Ginny Arthur at a reception on Dec. 11.

The School of Urban Education anticipates that 14 students total will graduate from the Master of Urban Education program over the course of this academic year.

Vance Holmes
Metropolitan State University recognizes Vance Holmes as its first recipient of the Master of Science degree in Urban Education. He received his diploma and special acknowledgment from Interim President Devinder Malhotra and Provost Ginny Arthur at a reception on Dec. 11 for graduating students of the School of Urban Education.

Following the reception, Holmes delivered a summary of his thesis, “Powerful Beyond Measure: African American Assessments Of The Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exam Experience.” He discusses the work in an abstract on his blog and website, VanceHolmes.com.

“My research focused on the racial score gap in state teacher licensure testing and its effect on teacher diversity. The topic, which is important to me personally and professionally, also reflects the core mission of Metro State’s Urban Teacher Program,” Holmes says.

“As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I am proud to say I am the first person in the new School of Urban Education to be recommended for a master’s degree,” Holmes says. In fall 2013, Holmes earned a graduate certificate from the School of Urban Education. He is a 1985 graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in music theater, and holds a graduate degree in theater directing from the University of Minnesota.

“The university’s conferment of this degree represents a historic point in the development of the School of Urban Education and Metro State, and because Vance is such a stellar student,” says Paul Spies, professor and master’s degree coordinator for the School of Urban Education. “I can’t wait for the world to reap the benefit of his knowledge and wisdom.”

The newly approved Master of Science in Urban Education degree is designed for licensed educators or other professionals working with urban youth and schools who are seeking a general professional development experience; professionals working with urban youth and schools who are seeking specific areas of professional development in English as a second language or special education; and individuals seeking to become a licensed secondary teacher in Minnesota with a commitment to working with urban youth and schools.

“Vance’s work represents activist research in that it has much potential to raise consciousness around the racist implications high-stakes, standardized tests have for people of color who desire to become teachers. It is our hope that policy makers, especially state legislators, will heed the wisdom of Vance’s project,” says Rene Antrop-Gonzalez, professor and dean of the School of Urban Education.

The School of Urban Education anticipates that 14 students total will graduate from the Master of Urban Education program over the course of this academic year.

The program coursework examines the racial, socio-economic, cultural, historical, structural and systemic contexts and conditions of urban education. An asset orientation towards urban learners, families, schools, and communities is emphasized. Research on promising efforts to close gaps and create equitable learning opportunities and achievement for E-12 students is analyzed. Courses provide students opportunities to integrate theory, practice, critical reflection and research within a school or community setting to improve E-12 student learning.