Philosophy and Theme
The teacher education program faculty members believe that in order to be effective in today’s school, a teacher must be knowledgeable, possess a professional disposition, and conduct teaching/learning experiences that ensure the development of all students’ abilities to be critical participants in and productive members of a democratic society. The professional education unit faculty members have agreed that a teacher education program at Shepherd University that enables prospective teachers to acquire the above characteristics will be based on the following philosophical position:
The teacher education program at Shepherd University is committed to the idea that knowledge enables one to make informed choices, to actively participate in the shaping of one’s own life, and to influence the social, cultural, political, and economic structures of a democratic society. Based on the belief that education should empower all students and teachers to exercise informed choices in a global society, our purpose is to facilitate the development of liberally educated teachers who demonstrate the willingness and capacity to empower all P-12 students. The program is committed to promoting social justice, embracing diversity and inclusion, and enhancing teaching and learning through technology.
The schooling context is very complex; it is characterized by a significant degree of ambiguity that precludes a formulaic approach to teaching. This complexity necessitates that teacher candidates and practitioners develop a philosophy and principles for practice based on reflective problem solving. Teachers must identify and frame problems, generate and consider multiple solutions, choose and implement courses of action, and evaluate impacts. The criteria for the assessment of effective teaching must include not only curricular and pedagogical concerns but also the ethical dimensions of teaching/learning. Schooling is not done to students; it is done with students.
Consistent reflection on the nature and practice of education is a hallmark of a critically-thinking teacher. Consequently, the chosen theme of the teacher education program at Shepherd University is Teacher as Reflective Problem Solver (TARPS). We have established a framework for the development of reflective dispositions. In order to effectively respond to the range of concerns found in today’s classrooms, a teacher needs to be concurrently reflective across three fields of consideration: action, interpretation, and critical reflection. The effective teacher examines his/her action and is concerned with the effective application of pedagogical knowledge and strategies to achieve stated educational goals for every student. This action is subject to interpretation. Here the teacher explicates and justifies the assumptions and predispositions that underlie his/her teaching/learning activity. During the process of critical reflection, the teacher assesses the adequacy of the educational goals toward which the educational experience leads and incorporates moral and ethical criteria in assessing the outcomes of teaching/learning activities.
In recognition of the rapidly increasing knowledge base for teaching and teacher education and the critical demand for excellent and effective teachers, the faculty members in teacher education continually evaluate the curriculum and instructional strategies. This has led to revisions in the teacher education program. This reflective problem-solving approach will lead to further changes that strengthen the teacher education program at Shepherd University. It is important that students consult their specialization handbook to become familiar with the most recent and/or applicable revisions and requirements.
The teacher education program at Shepherd University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and also is approved for recommending teacher licensure by the state of West Virginia.
Shepherd University offers the bachelor of arts in early education, the bachelor of arts in elementary education, the bachelor of arts in secondary education, and the bachelor of music education degrees which may lead to certification in elementary and secondary education. Shepherd University offers specializations in teacher education that lead to certification in a variety of elementary and secondary education areas.
The following specializations are offered:
Art Education PreK-Adult
Biology Education 9-Adult
Chemistry Education 9-Adult
Elementary Education K-6
Early Education PreK-K (only as an added endorsement to Elementary Education K-6)
English Education 5-Adult
Family and Consumer Science Education 5-Adult
General Science Education 5-Adult
Health Education 5-Adult (only as an added endorsement to Physical Education PreK-Adult)
Mathematics Education 5-Adult, General Mathematics through Algebra I Education 5-9 (5-9 only as an added endorsement to a K-6 or secondary program)
Music Education PreK-Adult
Physical Education PreK-Adult
Social Studies Education 5-Adult, 5-9 (5-9 only as an added endorsement to a K-6 or secondary program)
Contact for Information: Department of Education, Knutti Hall 108, 304-876-5305.
Policies and Procedures
A student who wishes to pursue a teacher education degree should plan an academic program to be followed for the time of matriculation. This will include three components: the Core Curriculum, specialty studies, and professional studies. The Core Curriculum is required of all Shepherd graduates and may be found in the Catalog under that heading. The specialty studies courses prepare students to teach in the certification field and they are listed alphabetically by specialization throughout the Catalog. The professional studies courses prepare students in abilities common to teachers irrespective of their teaching specialization.
Admission to Shepherd University does not guarantee admission to teacher education. Selection into teacher education requires, at the least, meeting common minimum standards across specialization areas and particular standards set by specific specialization areas. Admission may be denied or reversed for any student whose performance fails to meet these standards. Written specification of details of the common minimum standards may be obtained through the Department of Education Office.
Specific specialization and endorsement policies and procedures are published in individual specialization handbooks available from an advisor or specialization coordinator. These handbooks should be consulted for the areas in which students are seeking certification. The most recent requirements for each specialization are found in the handbooks.
If program space should be limited, those students demonstrating the highest standards will be given preference. All candidates should note that meeting all the objective standards but failing to gain the confidence of the faculty will not be sufficient. Students exhibiting habits associated with reflectiveness, dependability, honesty, cooperativeness, diligence, achievement, and an openness to diversity will merit such confidence.
Students should note that an education (professional education and specialty studies courses) GPA of 2.75 and an overall GPA of 2.75 are the minimums required for admission to the teacher education program and for student teaching. A GPA of only 2.75 is weak and could be interpreted as detracting from promise for teaching.
In fall 1990 the following specific policy became effective: A student who has been convicted of a felony will be denied admission to the teacher education program.
The teacher education program does not discriminate against students having disabilities as long as those conditions do not interfere with the capacity to acquire the ability and knowledge needed for performing all the activities required of teachers. All prospective students should be aware that majoring in teacher education entails the responsibility for demonstrating ability to teach in addition to, but not in place of, demonstrating knowledge about teaching.
All education majors are required to purchase TK-20 at the Shepherd University bookstore or online at www.tk20.com. Each EDUC course includes at least one Key Assessment, used for evaluation of the teacher education program. Students and faculty are required to enter these assignments through the Shepherd University data management system, TK-20, which may be used for additional assignments as well.
Selection and Screening of Candidates for Teacher Education
The following policies and procedures outline the elements common to all specialization areas. Students should consult their advisors about particular requirements for their own specialization of interest.
Admission to Program (Juncture 1 Review)
Eligibility for admission as a candidate into the teacher education program include but are not limited to:
- Student completes and submits application for Juncture I Review to the Department of Education Office, Knutti Hall 108. To be eligible for admission to the teacher education program (TEP) the student must:
- Have as an official academic advisor a faculty member in the Department of Education if seeking admission to the elementary teacher education program or, if seeking admission to a secondary specialization, the specialization coordinator of the specialization field or his/her designee;
- If adding an additional teaching field, have as an official academic advisor a faculty member in the Department of Education. If seeking admission to the elementary education program or if seeking admission to a secondary specialization, have as an official academic advisor the specialization coordinator of the specialization field or his/her designee;
- Have completed EDUC 150 (or MUSC 100, for Music Education candidates), EDUC 200, and EDUC 320 with no grade lower than C;
- Have passed all sections of the PPST or provide official proof of exemption;
- Have earned an overall GPA of 2.75 on at least 24 degree credits taken at Shepherd University. Transfer students must have earned an overall GPA of 2.75 and an earned GPA of 2.75 on at least 9 degree credits taken at Shepherd University;
- Document computer competency;
- Document satisfactory progress in portfolio development;
- Have completed ENGL 101, ENGL 102 or 103 or 104, and COMM 202 with a grade of at least C;
- Have no grade lower than a C in any professional studies or specialty studies courses;
- Submit a statement he/she has signed attesting that he/she has not been convicted of any felony as established by West Virginia Code; and
- Have met specific requirements in the specialization handbook for the area into which he/she wishes to be admitted.
Admission to Student Teaching (Juncture 2 Review)
To be eligible for student teaching review the candidate must:
- Have passed Juncture I Review;
- Have full status in the teacher education program;
- Have required GPA (2.75 minimum in both education studies and overall);
- Have no grade lower than C in education studies;
- Document satisfactory progress in portfolio development;
- Have met all requirements as specified by the specialization in the Catalog or the specialization handbook; and
- Continue to be free of conviction for felony.
Certification (Juncture 3 Review)
To be eligible for certification review, the candidate must:
- Have full status in the teacher education program;
- Have completed all course work applied toward the degree including a minimum of 45 upper-division hours;
- Have required GPA of 2.75 in each education studies and overall (unless specified higher by the specialization);
- Have no grade lower than a C in any education specialty studies;
- Have met any additional specialization requirements;
- Pass state mandated tests for West Virginia certification; and
- Have submitted required forms and fees for certification.
All teacher education students should be mindful that, in order to be recommended for certification, the West Virginia Board of Education requires that the appropriate University official attest to the following statement: To the best of my knowledge, the applicant is of good moral character and physically, mentally, and emotionally qualified to perform the duties of an educator and is not the subject of any criminal conviction or currently pending charges (felonies or misdemeanors) which would show a lack of good moral character.
Curricular Policies for Teacher Education
The following curricular policies are common to all teaching specializations. Please refer to the specialization area handbook for specific policies for your area of interest.
- No more than seven years must have elapsed between completing any course in specialty and professional studies areas and the completion of the teacher education program. In order to complete a teacher education program:
- Students must complete within seven years the graduation requirements of the Catalog which they have chosen. They may choose a Catalog in effect at their initial admission to the University or a subsequent Catalog. If no Catalog choice is explicitly made, the student is assigned one. Students may not split Catalog requirements.
- State-mandated changes, if they occur, override requirements in the Catalog on an implementation schedule determined by the state. Otherwise, the University Catalog is the binding document for all audits of graduation requirements.
- Rules affecting the internal progress of students within the education programs are provided in the specialization handbooks, and exceptions to these rules must be approved by the Professional Education Unit Council.
- Once a student has been admitted to Shepherd University, transfer course work to be applied to meeting specialty studies and professional studies requirements must be approved. In the case of specialty courses, the approval must come from the specialization coordinator or his/her designee. In the case of professional studies, the approval must come from the chair of the Department of Education or his/her designee. It is the student’s responsibility to provide sufficient information regarding the courses under consideration to permit an informed judgment based on the content and thematic requirements of the teacher education program.
- All students seeking elementary or secondary education degrees must satisfy the requirements for graduation that apply to all Shepherd University graduates and, in addition, maintain at least a GPA of 2.75 in education (consists of Professional and Specialty Studies Curriculum) and an overall GPA of at least 2.75.
- Each specialization area determines the courses which must be satisfactorily completed prior to student teaching.
- All required professional education courses except EDUC 400 must be completed prior to student teaching.
- Specialization areas may identify critical courses and experiences which require more rigorous levels of performance than the minimums established by the professional education unit.