Catalogue 2017 - 2018

Education Majors

General Information

Throughout the history of Western New England University, many graduates have gone on to careers in education. Since the establishment of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1967, the University has offered secondary education teacher education. Following this tradition, in 1997 the University initiated a teacher licensure program for students interested in preparing for careers in elementary education, grades 1-6.
The philosophy of these majors is to provide academically well-prepared students with the professional preparation necessary to become effective teachers. Coursework emphasizes skills in classroom instruction, assessment, and management, as well as academic content knowledge. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has accredited all of the University’s teacher preparation programs through a formal review process grounded in the Massachusetts Professional Teaching Standards. Upon graduation students are eligible for an initial teaching license.

While Western New England University programs are widely reciprocal with other states through the NASDTEC Interstate Contract, students are advised that some states may have additional requirements for licensure. A regional teaching license, the Northeast Regional Credential, allows teachers in New England and New York to take a job immediately in any of the other six states and to have up to two years to complete any unmet requirements for licensure in the new state. Students interested in licensure for states other than Massachusetts should discuss this possibility with a member of the Education Department, or look at the Department of Education website for the state in question.

Completing an Education major, and earning eligibility for licensure requires more than just meeting course requirements. Education majors are designed so that students will complete General University requirements, content major requirements, and state licensure requirements in four years. In order to be eligible to participate in the student teaching block (Fall of senior year), students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.8 and earn passing scores on required MTEL exams. Due the demands of Education majors, students who transfer into the University may not be able to graduate in four years. Education handbooks are available online on the Education Department website:

Students who completed a licensure major in the academic year 2015-2016, had a 100% pass rate on all Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL).

Education Faculty

Elementary Teacher Education

Students preparing for the Elementary Teacher license must select a major in one of the prescribed liberal arts and sciences disciplines and complete the elementary education major; they are completing a double major. Students can complete the University’s General University requirements, the College of Arts and Sciences requirements, and the elementary education requirements in four years with the following majors: English, history, mathematics, sociology and psychology.  Undergraduates are urged to work with the Education Department early in their university careers to carefully plan their university course of study in order to complete both required majors requirements. A student should apply to the Elementary Education major by the end of their first year. A student will be notified of acceptance into the program during the spring semester of junior year.  Credits earned toward the Education major (leads to licensure) will be applied to the Education minor (not a path to licensure) if a student is unable to meet the requirements for acceptance in to the major.

Minimum eligibility requirements for acceptance into the program are:

  1. Submission of an Elementary Program Application by the end of a student’s first year.
  2. A cumulative average of at least 2.80 in all courses, including a 2.80 in the major field and in the preliminary education courses.  Students must earn a minimum of "C" or higher in all ED coursework in order to be eligible for licensure recommendations.
  3. A letter of recommendation from a member of the Arts and Sciences faculty (not education),
  4. Successful completion of three Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). The MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills Test, the MTEL Foundations of Reading Test and the MTEL General Curriculum Test must be taken and passed by the spring of junior year; passing scores must be obtained on all parts of these exams.

Students will be notified in the spring of their junior year about their eligibility for the student teaching block to be completed in fall of the senior year. The criteria for advancement will be: the recommendation of an Arts and Sciences faculty member; a recommendation from a cooperating teacher from one of the student’s fieldwork courses; appropriate grade point averages; and passing MTEL scores, and transcript review for minimum grades required in ED major courses.

Under exceptional circumstances, a student with grade point averages below 2.80 may be admitted to the program.  Admittance is determined by writing a letter requesting a waiver for the GPA requirement outlining valid reasons for the lower GPA, submitted to the chairperson of the education department and by passing all required MTEL tests before student teaching.

The recommendation for licensure comes at the end of the practicum semester and is a joint recommendation of the program supervisor and supervising practitioner based on the student’s successful demonstration of the Professional Teaching Standards (PSTs). Working collaboratively with the student teacher the university supervisor and supervising practitioner use the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) rubric to demonstrate evidence of student competence on the PSTs as outlined by DESE. All students complete seventy-five hours of prepracticum experience, and a minimum of three hundred hours as a student teacher. Students apply directly to the state for the teaching license upon graduation from the University.

Currently the University’s Elementary Education Program offers students the opportunity to prepare for the Massachusetts Initial License, which is valid for five years of employment. The Massachusetts Professional License is then required of graduates and involves the completion of a Performance Assessment Program or an appropriate master’s degree program, and three years of employment under the license.

Successful completion of the University’s state approved program and the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) leads the graduate to eligibility for licensure in Massachusetts and 39 other states through the NASDTEC/Interstate Contract. Regional licensure, which includes the six New England states and New York, is also available to students who successfully complete the University’s state approved program at this level. This licensure allows an applicant to receive the initial license in a regional compact state and to take two years to complete any special license requirements unique to that state.

To better plan for licensure in other states, Western New England University students are urged to request information early in their University years directly from the Department of Education in the state(s) from which they seek an additional license.

Required courses for students enrolled in the Elementary Education Program:

*Course requires 25 hours of fieldwork for ED 350, ED 375, and ED 425.

**Course includes 300 hours in a full-time field-based practicum (student teaching)

Since ED 425, ED 479, and ED 480 are taken as a block in September, with ED 479 requiring full-time student teaching each day during October, November, and December, students should keep the fall semester of their senior year available for only these three courses.