Ursinus College Catalog

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Education

Associate Professors Spencer (Chair), Mackler.

The study of education is interdisciplinary and can spark profound insights about one's own educational experience and the role of education in society. It can also lead to a variety of careers: not only teaching in a range of settings (public or private schools, schools in foreign countries, programs like Teach for America, museums and other institutions), but also careers in fields such as education policy, social justice, education law, higher education, and counseling.

The Education department offers 1) preparation for Pennsylvania state certification (transferable to more than forty other states) in a range of subjects, mostly for grades 7-12 but in some cases for grades K-12 (see below); or 2) a minor in either secondary or elementary education. The department does not offer a major—students pursue certification or a minor in addition to a major in a different department—nor does it offer certification in elementary education.

For all students, including those who might be interested in taking a course or two, the department brings a rigorous, liberal arts approach to the study of education, including a focus on the social, political, cultural, historical, and philosophical contexts in which teaching and learning take place. Education students apply academic learning to educational problems and practices, in schools as well as society. Those who pursue teaching certification will learn to develop curriculum plans, teaching strategies, and assessments that engage all of their students and make a lasting impact on their lives. They will be expected to shape classrooms characterized by a culture of learning, respect for differences, and the pursuit of individual and collective growth—and to demonstrate a commitment to ethical standards and professionalism, including their own continuing growth.

Teaching Certification

Ursinus College is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to offer initial Teacher Certification in the following subject areas and grade levels:

  • Chemistry (7-12)
  • Physics (7-12)
  • Biology (7-12)
  • General Science (7-12) (offered only in conjunction with Biology, Chemistry or Physics certification)
  • Mathematics (7-12)
  • English (7-12)
  • Social Studies (7-12)
  • Latin (K-12)
  • German (K-12)
  • French (K-12)
  • Japanese (K-12)
  • Spanish (K-12)
  • Health and Physical Education (K-12)
  • Environmental Studies (K-12)

NOTE: The department does not offer certification in elementary education (though as noted above, some subject area certifications span grades K-12).

To pursue one of these subject area certifications, students must major in that subject and complete nine Education courses totaling 38 credits: EDUC-210, EDUC-265, EDUC-320, EDUC-350, EDUC-360, EDUC-375, EDUC-443, EDUC-405 (student teaching, 12 credits), and EDUC-406. See recommended course sequences below. (NOTE: Students seeking certification in Health and Physical Education are required to complete HEP-355 and 356 instead of EDUC-350 and 443.)

Field Experiences

Most Education courses require field experience hours in local public schools. Students must arrange transportation for all field experiences and student teaching. To be eligible to visit schools and complete these required hours, students must obtain the necessary security clearances: 1) Act 34, Pennsylvania State Criminal History Record; 2) Act 114, FBI Fingerprints (Federal Criminal History Record); 3) Act 151, Pennsylvania Child Abuse Background Check; and 4) Tuberculosis test. 

Admission to the Program

Students must fulfill the following requirements before being admitted into the teaching certification program:

  • Completion of 48 hours of college-level study;
  • Completion of CIE-100 and CIE-200;
  • Completion of one course in mathematics and one four-credit Q course; or two four-credit courses in mathematics;
  • Completion of EDUC-210 (usually in the 2nd or 3rd semester);
  • Passing scores on the Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA: Reading, Writing, Mathematics) or qualifying SAT or ACT scores. This should be done by the end of sophomore year (inquire in the Education department);
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.00

Student Teaching

Students must fulfill the following requirements in order to be eligible for student teaching:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.00
  • GPA of 3.00 in Education courses (210, 265, 320, 350, 360, 375, and 443. Health and Physical Education candidates: HEP-355 and 356 instead of EDUC-350 and 443)
  • Specified GPA in the candidate’s major department/certification area
  • Completion of EDUC-350 and EDUC-443 (or equivalent HPE methods courses) with satisfactory evaluations from Ursinus Education faculty and field placement teachers (for EDUC-443), in terms of performance and professionalism.
  • Satisfactory completion of Student Teacher Biography and Placement Application
  • Recommendation by the candidate’s major department and approval by Education department faculty

Certification

Students must meet the following criteria to apply and be recommended for certification:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.00
  • Grade of B or higher in student teaching
  • Satisfactory PDE 430 Evaluation
  • Passing score on Praxis II (Content Area) exams (NOTE: Post-baccalaureate students must take and pass Praxis II before being placed for student teaching.)
  • Demonstration of good moral character

Reciprocal agreements extend certification eligibility to more than forty other states, though some states require additional standardized tests. Candidates who wish to teach outside Pennsylvania should contact state education departments for further information. Eligibility for permanent certification in any state depends upon successful full-time teaching and professional development requirements which vary among individual states.

Teacher Certification Course Sequence

The following are the recommended course sequences for teacher certification. Students and major advisors should consult the Education Department, especially in cases that do not conform to these sequences. All Education coursework must be completed prior to student teaching. Advising sheets for each certification subject area are available through the Education Department.

Note: Field experience hours in local public schools are required in EDUC-265, 320, 350, 375, and 443. Students must arrange transportation for all field experiences and student teaching. 

The courses listed below are four credits unless noted otherwise.

 

Student Teaching in Spring Semester

Year 1

EDUC-210 Foundations of Education

   

Year 2

EDUC-265 Educational Psychology (5 hours field experience)
EDUC-320 Diversity of Learners (10 hours field experience)

 

 

Year 3

EDUC-350 Curriculum and Instruction (15 hours field experience)
EDUC-360 Teaching English Language Learners (2 credits)
EDUC-375 The Inclusive Classroom (15 hours field experience)

 

 

Year 4

Fall Semester EDUC-443 Methods Practicum (2 credits) (25 hours field experience)

 

Spring Semester EDUC-405 Student Teaching (12 credits)

 

Spring Semester EDUC-406 Professional Applications (2 credits)

 

(See 9th semester and athletics/employment note below.)

   
 

Student Teaching in Fall Semester

Year 1

EDUC-210 Foundations of Education

   
Year 2

EDUC-265 Educational Psychology (5 hours field experience)

 

EDUC-320 Diversity of Learners (10 hours field experience)

   
Year 3

Fall Semester  EDUC-350 Curriculum and Instruction (15 hours field experience)
Fall Semester EDUC-375 The Inclusive Classroom (15 hours field experience)

 

Spring Semester  EDUC-360 Teaching English Language Learners (2 credits)
Spring Semester EDUC-443 Methods Practicum (2 credits) (25 hours field experience)

   
Year 4

Fall Semester EDUC-405 Student Teaching (12 credits)
Fall Semester EDUC-406 Professional Applications (2 credits)

 

Note: EDUC-405 and 406 are taken concurrently and should not be scheduled during a student’s participation in athletics or employment. No other courses, day or evening, may be scheduled. While most students complete student teaching during their senior year, some students elect to student teach in a 9th semester; see the Education Department for details.
Health and Physical Education (HPE) certification students do not take EDUC-350 and EDUC-443; instead, they should take ESS-356 (fall semester only; 28 hours field experience) and ESS-355 (spring semester only; 12 hours field experience). Both courses require clearances and are offered every other year.

Requirements for Minors

Students from any major may choose to minor in Education.

Minor in Elementary Education

Students who expect to pursue careers in which they will work with pre-school or elementary school-age children may minor in Elementary Education. This option can strengthen eligibility for admission to graduate school in such areas as elementary school teaching, school guidance or psychology, speech pathology, etc. Course requirements include EDUC-210, 265, and 320; PSYC-345; and one from EDUC-402, 434, or 446. (PSYC-330 is recommended.)

Minor in Secondary Education

Students who express interest in working with adolescents often decide to minor in Secondary Education. Course requirements include EDUC-210, 265, and 320; PSYC-355; and one from EDUC-402, 434, or 446. (PSYC-330 is recommended.) 

Courses

EDUC-210. Foundations of Education Dr. Spencer, Dr. Mackler.

This course introduces students to the philosophical, sociological, political, and historical foundations of the contemporary public school system in the United States, with a special emphasis on the secondary school. The central aim of the course is to develop students’ ability to think about complex questions related to the purposes and practices of schooling in a democratic society. The course will be seminar-style, with students expected to engage collaboratively in philosophical discussions about essential questions in education. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

EDUC-265. Educational Psychology Dr. Spencer

An examination of psychological principles and how they can illuminate processes of learning and teaching, especially among adolescents. The course will explore cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development in multiple social contexts. It will also emphasize theories of learning and motivation and apply these to the development of positive and productive classroom learning environments. Field experience required. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

EDUC-320. Diversity of Learners Faculty

An examination of multiple forms of diversity among schoolchildren and legal and procedural aspects of educating diverse students in regular classrooms. The course will focus on foundational knowledge about students with various types of disabilities as well as those who are English Language Learners (ELLs); historical and legal factors that have shaped the education of ELLs and students with disabilities; and processes of collaboration and cooperative teaching that have become integral to the practice of inclusive education. Field experience required. Prerequisite: EDUC-210 and 265; or permission of instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, D.)

EDUC-350. Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Spencer, Dr. Mackler

Approaches to planning, assessment, and instruction for secondary school classrooms. The course aims to provide knowledge and skills necessary for a successful student teaching experience and, beyond that, a conceptual framework for long-term professional growth and excellence. Students will construct unit and lesson plans grounded in philosophical foundations, in core ideas and standards within their academic disciplines, and in knowledge of student diversity and development. Topics will include Understanding by Design, inquiry learning and other teaching strategies, multiple forms and functions of assessment, and the evaluation and use of varied instructional materials. Prerequisites: EDUC-210 and 265. Field experience required. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

EDUC-351. Research Faculty

Readings and fieldwork designed to introduce students to research methods in education. Students select topics and write a proposal which must be approved by an education adviser. Regular meetings and progress reports and a final paper are required. Prerequisites: EDUC-210 and 265. One semester hour.

EDUC-352. Research Faculty

Same as EDUC-351 but offered in spring. One semester hour.

EDUC-360. Teaching English Language Learners Faculty

Approaches and methods for teaching English Language Learners (ELL) in content area classrooms. Topics will include the process of language acquisition, sociocultural characteristics of ELL students, appropriate instructional strategies to make content comprehensible for ELL students, and appropriate assessments for ELL students. Prerequisites: EDUC-210, 265, 320. Two hours per week. Two semester hours.

EDUC-375. The Inclusive Classroom Faculty

Methods of teaching to meet the needs of diverse learners. The course will emphasize planning, instructional, and assessment strategies that enable regular classroom teachers to meet individual needs while fulfilling common curricular goals. Topics will include the establishment of positive and inclusive learning environments, literacy development and instruction, assistive technology, and principles and practices of differentiated instruction. Prerequisites: EDUC-210, 265, 320. Field experience required. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, D.)

EDUC-381. Internship Faculty

An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an on-site supervisor. Students must document their experience according to the requirements delineated in the College catalogue section on Internships. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work. Prerequisites: Students must have completed 12 semester hours of education coursework and have permission of the supervising faculty member to be eligible for an internship. Graded S/U. 120 hours.Three semester hours.

EDUC-382. Internship Faculty

An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an on-site supervisor. Students must document their experience according to the requirements delineated in the College catalogue section on Off-Campus Study. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work. Prerequisites: Students must have completed 12 semester hours of education coursework and have permission of the supervising faculty member to be eligible for an internship. Graded S/U. 160 hours. Four semester hours.

EDUC/GWMS-402. Identity and Diversity Faculty

An examination of privileges and challenges that come with our roles as individuals and as members of various groups, chosen and unchosen. The course will explore how individual educational experiences are shaped and structured by sociological and historical contexts, especially among individuals who have considered themselves outsiders in terms of race, social class, gender, and/or educational status. Prerequisite: EDUC-210 or permission of instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, D.)

EDUC-405. Student Teaching Faculty

A laboratory course consisting of observation and student teaching. Supervision is provided by faculty in the department of education and normally by other members of the College community in cooperation with teachers from local schools. Conferences and critiques occur between College faculty and student teachers. The course is open only to fourth-year students who meet published academic criteria. In order to receive the College’s recommendation for teacher certification, the student teacher must earn a grade of at least B in this course. Prerequisites: EDUC-210, 265, 320, 350, 360, 375 and 443. Taken with EDUC-406, as part of the Professional Semester. Twelve semester hours.

EDUC-406. Professional Applications Faculty

This course is taken concurrently with student teaching, and gives students an opportunity to engage in guided practice during their student teaching experience. Lesson planning, classroom management and student assessment will all be addressed. Two hours per week. Two semester hours.

EDUC-434. Curriculum Seminar Faculty

A study of selected topics relevant to reforming education in today’s schools, with special attention to curriculum development. Includes field research. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS,)

EDUC-443. Methods Practicum Spencer, Faculty

A field-based exploration of teaching and learning in the various subject areas offered in the College’s teacher education program. Students will be placed in field experiences according to their broad field of specialization (mathematics, science, world languages, English, or social studies), with teachers who will immerse them in the observation, analysis and application of instructional approaches in that subject area. Students must budget time to visit schools roughly once per week, for a total of 30 hours over the course of the semester. On-campus evening sessions will be devoted to subject-specific group work, discussion of field experiences, and the distribution and discussion of important resources in the various subject areas. Prerequisites: EDUC-210, 265, 320, and 350. Field experience required (25 hours). Taken the semester prior to student teaching. Two hours per week.Two semester hours.

EDUC-446. Issues and Trends in Contemporary Education Dr. Spencer, Dr. Mackler

This course will introduce students to advanced research in Education by engaging them in an interdisciplinary examination of a broad theme or question about the field of Education. Topics will vary with the instructor(s), will reflect the broader educational goals of valuing exceptionalities, differences of cultures and lifestyles as a foundation of a pluralistic democracy. Prerequisite: EDUC-210 or permission of instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (D, SS.)

EDUC-491. Research/Independent Work Faculty

Independent investigation of an aspect of teaching, using both the library to examine relevant literature and the school setting as a laboratory for applying theory. Oral progress reports and a major paper are required. Written consent of the research adviser and departmental faculty must be presented at the time of registration. Four semester hours. (I.)

EDUC-492. Research/Independent Work Faculty

Same as EDUC-491, but offered in the spring semester. Four semester hours. (I.)

EDUC-493. Student Teaching Faculty

A laboratory course consisting of observation and student teaching. Supervision is provided by faculty in the department of education and normally by other members of the College community in cooperation with teachers from local schools. Conferences and critiques occur between College faculty and student teachers. The course is open only to 9th semester/post baccalaureate students who meet published academic criteria. In order to receive the College’s recommendation for teacher certification, the student teacher must earn a grade of at least B in this course. Prerequisites: EDUC-210, 265, 320, 350, 360, 375 and 443. Taken with EDUC-406, as part of the Professional Semester. Four semester hours.