The University of Arizona and Chandler announced last week the two are teaming up to bring a university presence, along with master's and certificate programs, to the downtown area as soon as this May.

"We've been working aggressively to bring a university presence to downtown," said Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. "This begins a journey that brings together a number of entities and will bring even more energy to downtown Chandler."

The campus expects to have about 30 students in the first year, with 10 to 15 percent growth each year after, said Mike Proctor, UA vice provost for outreach and global initiatives, and dean of the Outreach College. Over time, that will lead to a significant growth, he said.

"This is Arizona's Silicon Valley," Proctor said, citing the Price Corridor, which houses businesses such as Intel, Amkor Technologies and other technology research and development and manufacturing companies. "This is where it's at."

In Chandler, the College of Education will begin offering three graduate programs starting in May 2012, which include Teach Arizona, MASTER-IP and a graduate education specialist program in school psychology.

Teach Arizona is a one-year master's program for those who already have a bachelor's degree and want to become middle or high school (grades 7-12) teachers. It is primarily targeted at those who are looking for a career change and veterans, but also recent undergraduate students.

"There are retirees who worked for Intel who are still young. There are retirees who served in the military who are still young," Clift said. Their work experience brings something different to the classroom, she said. Work experience can show students practical and real life applications for their learning.

The Math and Science Teacher Education/Retention Industry Partnership, or MASTER-IP, places currently employed middle school or high school teachers in internships with industry leaders. Teachers learn the ins-and-outs of the practical application of their subject and bring that knowledge back to their students.

"I saw the research side of things and saw my content being applied in industry," said Mel Wendell, a science teacher at Mountain Pointe High School in the Ahwatukee Foothills.

Wendell interned last summer at Sundt Construction and commuted to Tucson each Friday for the classroom coursework. Her time at Sundt changed the way she teaches and even inspired a project, she said.

Additionally, her time at the company led her to meeting an engineer willing to help out with the school's robotics club, she said.

The Department of Management Information Systems will offer a certificate in Enterprise Security (starting Fall 2012) and in Business Intelligence and Analytics (starting spring 2013). A master's program in Management Information Systems will begin in May, which will combine a hybrid online and on-site learning experience. The graduate certificates will count toward the degree.

Foundations of Library and Information Services, an entry level course for a master's student at the School of Information Resources and Library Science, will also be offered in Chandler beginning in June.

The UA will be housed in the second floor of the Downtown Community Center, located at 125 E. Commonwealth Ave., in rooms that have remained empty since the city moved to offices in the new City Hall at the end of 2010. Only minor changes will have to be made, essentially a fresh coat of paint and new carpet.

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