The Education Department at Western Colorado University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Education Department's licensure programs are authorized programs through the Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Department of Higher Education. The Education Department currently maintains a 100 percent pass rate for licensing assessments for Colorado educators, as reported to Title II for those who complete the program. The faculty of the Education Department is committed to creating a community of teachers who are competent in their subject matter, pedagogical content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and teaching skills. Students develop a professional knowledge base and research and reflect upon the implications of educational best practices that extend well beyond traditional educational goals of individual achievement. It is necessary for pre-service teachers to understand and accept the responsibility for creating a community that recognizes and appreciates diversity, and for which individual members possess the content knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to think critically, solve problems, and make responsible decisions.
Criteria for admission to the Teacher Licensure program
Education students must be accepted into the Teacher Licensure program prior to taking EDUC 340 Application of Pedagogy and Practice and before becoming eligible for placement in their teaching residency. All applicants receive a holistic application review by the admissions committee in the content area for which the application is received. Applicants are evaluated according to criteria established for the specific licensure track. Details, including application deadlines, are listed on the undergraduate Education program’s website: Link to Education Programs page.
Student Disposition and Performance Assessment
During the semester in which students are enrolled in EDUC 000 Education Gateway Course, EDUC 340 Application of Pedagogy and Practice, and the clinical residency (Student Teaching), students are evaluated by the Education faculty and K-12 teacher mentor(s) in terms of their potential for becoming effective educators. This process of evaluating professional teaching dispositions is used for screening Education students for support needs and/or continuation in the Teacher Licensure Program.
Recommendation for Initial Licensure
Students must meet the following requirements during the last semester of their clinical residency year:
Successfully complete all Education coursework and the responsibilities of a clinical resident according to the Education Department’s Professionalism Standards and Guidelines;
Perform at a minimum “3, Proficiency” on each relevant standard element as evaluated by mentor teachers, clinical residency supervisors, and/or course instructors.
Upon satisfactory completion of program requirements, the graduate must apply for licensure from the Colorado Department of Education within five years immediately following program completion.
Education Department Performance Review Committee and Process
Throughout the time a student spends in the Teacher Licensure Program, he or she is evaluated and assessed by Education Department faculty, Clinical Coaches, Regional Coordinators and Mentor Teachers, in respect to performance, disposition, motivation, and demonstrated potential as a teacher. If issues surface concerning behaviors or dispositions, the Performance Review Committee begins a review process. This process has three purposes:
to act as a screening and counseling review,
to resolve a problematic situation, and
to provide an opportunity for faculty and students to develop a professional growth plan.
Evidence of unsatisfactory performance, disposition, motivation, or demonstrated potential may result in withdrawal from the Program. A student who does not pass each Education course with at least a “C-” has one semester (or until the next time the semester course is offered) to remove the “D” or “F” with a grade of “C-” or above; or be withdrawn from the Program. Before admission to the Teacher Licensure Program, students must complete all prerequisite Education courses required for Licensure with a “C-” or above, and have an overall GPA of 2.75 or above. Anyone who fails two or more courses in the Education Department is withdrawn from the Program.
Performance Review Committee and Process
Students who appeal Program policies and procedures must abide by the Performance Review Committee process. This process involves submitting materials to the Performance Review Committee for review. These materials include:
Statement of the problem, and a plan for correcting the problem;
Copy of the student’s transcript(s) and current course schedule;
Additional materials supporting the student’s appeal; and
Additional materials requested by the Performance Review Committee.
Students explore the professional opportunities and practices of the teaching discipline. Designed to provide participants a variety of designated experiences with K-12 students so they are able to make informed decisions about becoming teachers. Students facilitate field experiences with school-age students both at the elementary and secondary levels. Students attend two one-hour long seminars and participate in 10 hours of subsequent field experiences. This course is required for admission to the Teacher Licensure Program. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.
An introduction to the theories, visions, and ideals of learning and teaching. Students draw upon various concepts, images, and frameworks to reflect upon their classroom experiences and consider their understanding of what it means to be a good student, good teacher, and informed citizen in a society that values education.
Addresses the relationship between education and schooling as an institution. Students consider the historical foundations and ongoing debates surrounding education in the United States. Also addresses major landmarks, policies, and structural factors that have shaped and continue shaping today’s schools.
Examines beliefs and current thinking about teaching and learning science. Students consider children’s ideas about the natural world and ways of engaging young learners in the cultural, knowledge-generating practices of science.
An introduction to theory and understanding of first and second language acquisition for teaching K-12 students from linguistically diverse cultures and backgrounds. Students develop an awareness of the historical, legal, social and educational background surrounding linguistically diverse education. The primary focus is on research based oral language assessment and development to provide meaningful instruction. Methods include those appropriate for the beginning English language learner, as well as those at other levels on the language acquisition continuum. Prerequisites: EDUC 000 and EDUC 102.
Provides an introduction to the diversity that characterizes student populations in most U.S. public school classrooms today in light of radically changing population demographics during the past several decades. Students develop understandings of historical, cultural, social, political, linguistic, and pedagogical issues requisite for embracing diversity, equity, and inclusivity in public school classrooms and other educational settings. Ideas and methods for working with culturally and linguistically diverse students are addressed.
A foundation course in educational pedagogy based on current research and widely accepted teaching strategies. Includes an integrated variety of research-based approaches to teaching and learning, such as cooperative learning and differentiated instruction, which are framed within professionalism standards for teachers. A major component of the course is a rigorous and structured field experience in local schools as preparation for residency. Prerequisite: Admission to the Teacher Licensure Program.
A course for qualified, upper-level students with specialized interests in a particular area of advanced study in Teacher Education.
A study and application of scientifically-based methods of teaching and reinforcing fundamental reading skills. Cognitive processes of literacy, including phonology, morphology, orthography and etymology. Focus placed on English language structure as it affects decoding and encoding. Additionally, methods for diverse groups of students, including students with disabilities, students from culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and high-achieving students are covered. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.
This is an in-depth application of assessment techniques and instruments in coordination with state standards, No Child Left Behind and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2004. Includes standardized testing and knowledge of literacy including five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Analysis of data to design and monitor instruction and intervention for universal, targeted, and intensive needs of diverse groups of students, including students with disabilities, students from culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and high-achieving students. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.
A study and application of scientifically-based methods of teaching and reinforcing reading comprehension, vocabulary fluency, oral and written language skills. Cognitive processes of literacy, including phonology, morphology, orthography, etymology, semantics, syntax, discourse, pragmatics and English language structure as it affects meaning. Additionally, methods for diverse groups of students, including students with disabilities, students from culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and high-achieving students are covered. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.
An introduction to the concepts, methods, techniques, and assessment practices used to effectively teach secondary and K-12 students. Emphasis is placed on structures for lesson and unit planning, implementation of the Colorado State Standards, literacy and math integration, research based instructional strategies, content specific technologies, and management techniques. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.
An investigation into the rationales and practices for developing a classroom community that is inclusive, respectful, and conducive to learning for all students. Invites nuanced consideration of diversity within school contexts and the teacher’s role in nurturing positive and productive relationships with students, families, and the broader community.
An in-depth application of standards-based instruction and assessment practices. Students design curriculum maps and plan standards-based lessons and units for diverse student populations. Students are taught to integrate literacy, math, and technology into their standards-based instructional plans, to use assessment data to drive standards-based curriculum that measure student knowledge, understanding, and skills, and to reflect on and evaluate their own performance. Prerequisite: admission to the Education Department.
An application of current research on brain based learning, reading and writing and its integration in the content area. Students implement the essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, motivation, and engagement within the content area. In addition, there is a focus on content area study and test taking skills. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.
Foster a deeper understanding of the 21st Century environment schools need to cultivate in order to maximize learning. This course prepares teachers to create technology-rich learning environments that enhance student growth and achievement. Prerequisite: Admission to the Teacher Education Program.
An in-depth application of cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning. Within the context of writing assessment and instruction, students learn to pay attention to these learning processes so that their own classroom students can master content standards. Students learn to employ a wide range of teaching techniques to match the intellectual, emotional and social level of each classroom student and choose alternative teaching strategies, materials and technologies to achieve different curricular purposes. Students apply expert content knowledge to enrich and extend student learning and to recognize educational diversity and the effects on student learning in order to develop and apply individual educational plans. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.
Student teaching in a 7-12 school setting on the average of 24 hours per week, over the course of the academic year, in collaboration with mentor teachers. This course must be repeated twice for credit. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.
Student teaching in a K-12 school setting on the average of 24 hours per week, over the course of the academic year, in collaboration with mentor teachers. This course must be repeated twice for credit. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher Education Program.
An application of the research-based practices for instruction in math. Focus is placedon the foundations for assessing and teaching math by addressing basic skills, criticalthinking skills, conceptual understanding, real life applications, and diverse learnerneeds. Students implement and review specific assessment practices, teachingstructures, intervention strategies, and technology applications within a standardsbasedframework of instruction. Prerequisite: admission to the Teacher EducationProgram.
An application of cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning. Within the context of writing assessment and instruction, students learn to employ a wide range of teaching techniques to match the cultural, academic, social and language proficiency level of each classroom student. Students apply expert content knowledge and knowledge of cognitive academic language proficiency to enrich and extend student learning.
Study and apply effective research- based strategies for high levels of attention and engagement for all learners. Prerequisite: Admission in Teacher Education.
This course provides participants with an understanding of the components of differentiated instruction (content, process, and product). Participants explore skills and resources needed to effectively manage a differentiated classroom and extend their learning into the application of strategies, assessments, and management systems within the context of teaching academic content. Prerequisite: Admission to the Education Department.
An introduction to theory, research and teaching methods on second-language learning and research-based strategies for working with culturally and/or linguistically diverse learners. Considerable attention is paid to how to work respectfully and productively with English learners, their families, community members, teachers/colleagues, administrators and special service providers.
Provides an overview of the theory and research on second-language learning and research-based strategies for working with culturally and linguistically diverse learners in general education settings for K-12 teachers. The content and standards covered in this course are essential for teachers who work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Considerable attention is paid to how to work respectfully and productively with English learners, their families, community members, teachers/colleagues, administrators and special service providers.
Student teaching in an elementary school setting (grades K-6) on the average of 24 hours per week, over the course of the academic year, supervised by a mentor teacher. This course may be taken twice for credit.
Student teaching in an elementary school setting, with special attention given to work with linguistically diverse students. The student teaching experience averages 24 hours per week over the course of the academic year and is supervised by a mentor teacher. Additional course fee applies.
A course for qualified, upper-level students with specialized interests in a particular area of advanced study in Teacher Education.
A study of methods and strategies to engage the online K-12 learner. Educators study how to transition from traditional face-to-face classrooms to online settings. Focus is primarily on the key principles of effective online instruction and the power of the learner-centered approach to ensure success for the online teacher and learner. Prerequisite: Teaching license.
A study of methods and strategies to engage the online K-12 learner. Educators study the principles of effective online assessment and specific online tools and strategies. Focus is on using assessment results to differentiate instruction and support the K-12 online learner. Prerequisite: Teaching license and EDUC 535.
Provide in-depth understanding of the reading acquisition process and current issues in reading research related to preliterate and emergent readers through observation and analysis of reading and written language development.
Provide in-depth understanding and application of scientifically-based methods of teaching reading comprehension vocabulary, and fluency.
Screen, diagnose, and monitor student progress in reading and writing to inform instruction and build home-school partnerships that promote reading and writing.
Apply concepts, methods, and practices related to curriculum, assessment of learning, and teaching in content areas.
Recognize needs for a successful classroom environment and apply strategies to support learning.
Study and apply standards-based curriculum and assessment practices.
Analyze, evaluate, and apply methods for developing effective reading and writing strategies that improve student academic achievement in the content area.
Investigate the research and theory of 21st Century Skills as they affect the education program. Develop effective teaching strategies through theory and simulation.
Provide in-depth understanding and application of research based methods of teaching writing as they apply to cognitive processes and socio-cultural context for diverse students.
Work in a secondary school setting over the course of the year, in collaboration with mentor teachers. This course can be repeated twice for credit.
Work in a K-12 school setting over the course of the year, in collaboration with mentor teachers. This course can be repeated twice for credit.
Outlines lesson planning that accounts for accommodations, modifications, and adaptive technologies. Discusses the importance of self-advocacy in assisting students with individualized education plans. Addresses classroom management and organizational strategies needed for compliance with federal regulations.
Encapsulates the process of assessing the eligibility of a student for an individualized education plan (IEP) from referral to the creation of a plan. Details the various parts of the IEP that are federally mandated and the programs that students with specialized plan are eligible for under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.
Examine and apply research-based teaching strategies that promote mathematics learning.
Provides an overview of the various collaborations required of teachers who work with students on individualized education plans. Students will consider insights and strategies for productive, respectful engagement with various stakeholders, including paraprofessionals, families, community members, healthcare workers, teacher/colleagues, administration and special service providers.
Provides a link between the student’s classroom experience which includes student’s collaboration with mentor teachers, and clinical coach. Addresses lesson implementation, teacher evaluation, professional development, education ethics, and caseload management. Students develop and monitor progress on instructional goals with input from support team.
Develop and apply understanding of language acquisition and awareness of the historical, legal, social and educational background surrounding linguistically diverse education.
Differentiate social and cognitive academic language and use research to develop cognitive academic language for English Language Learners.
Work in a K-12 school setting with linguistically diverse students over the course of the year, in collaboration with mentor teachers. This course can be repeated twice for credit.
Work in an elementary school setting over the course of the year, in collaboration with mentor teachers. This course can be repeated twice for credit.
An inquiry into how K-12 educators can best develop relevant and engaging blended and online instructional contexts to meet the needs of all K-12 learners. Focus is on exploration of tools, resources and emerging technologies to determine how to build and manage learning environments which maximize student achievement.
A study of best practices in creating, implementing, and using assessments in the online environment. Focus is on analyzing real-time data and findings from assessments to make instructional decisions and to plan targeted interventions to ensure student success. Prerequisite: EDUC 621.
Online and blended field-based experience in design, delivery, and evaluation of standards-based instruction in an appropriate K-12 setting. A collaborative approach will be fostered among students, teachers, and school-level administrators to support existing or emerging online or blended instructional needs. Prerequisite: EDUC 622.
This course provides a study of cognitive development as it impacts different learners’ ability to access academic content. Participants will build a foundation of understanding from which they will develop skills, strategies and resources that they can then apply in their teaching to address the complex challenges of meeting the diverse learning needs of all students.
Identify and utilize all levels of data to inform instructional decisions. Daily measures of student performance are analyzed along with summative assessments to develop relevant plans for instruction that may include interventions and differentiation. Explore resources to assist in tracking of student progress and develop evidence of effectiveness relative to Teacher Quality Standards.
Using the educator effectiveness growth goals developed in EDUC 625, students will design strategies and plans to ensure the mastery of each goal. One action plan to address a problem of practice will be fully developed and implemented. Approaches to examine and reflect on data gathered during the implementation process will be developed. Finally, an ongoing, living web-based document will be created. This document will serve as a means to demonstrate learner mastery of effectiveness in teaching. Prerequisite: EDUC 625.
Introduces the learner to student-centered teaching and learning and how technology can influence this approach.
This course provides an overview of theoretical principles, instructional strategies, and assessment strategies for working with students who are English learners and come from culturally diverse backgrounds. The content and standards covered in this course are required of teachers who work with students served in EL programs. Students will learn to work respectfully and productively with English learners, their families, community members, teachers/colleagues, administrators and special service providers. Prerequisite: Admission to M.A. in Education Program.
This course provides an overview of the theory and research on second-language learning and research-based strategies for working with culturally and linguistically diverse learners in general education settings for K-12 teachers. The content and standards covered in this course are essential for teachers who work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Considerable attention is paid to how to work respectfully and productively with English learners, their families, community members, teachers/colleagues, administrators and special service providers.
Provides learners the opportunity to understand the importance of diversity in academic content areas. Addresses how curriculum is developed through understanding of state academic standards, cross curriculum teaching methods, ways of providing curriculum that is culturally responsive, and differentiating for the varied backgrounds of the classroom.
Provides in-depth understanding of the reading acquisition process and current issues in reading research related to preliterate and emergent readers through observation and analysis of reading and written language development.Students will increase understanding and application of scientifically-based methods of teaching reading comprehension, vocabulary and fluency. Prerequisite: Admission to M.A. degree in Education Program.
Students consider the historical perspectives on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ( IDEA ) and related legislation. Emphasis place on the importance of current trends and research in the various special services in public education. Also covers various exceptionalities and associated needs, along with current understanding of basic human growth and development.
Addresses ways of screening, diagnosing, and monitoring student progress in reading and writing to inform instruction and build home-school partnerships. Students consider ways of promoting literacy through utilizing collaboration skills, creating and implementing instructional plans and monitoring student progress.
Provide an overview of educational leadership principles, including theories of leadership, foundational concepts of leading a school, qualities of effective leaders, and the process of building a positive, collaborative school culture.
Understand and evaluate the process of working with school-related personnel, including recruiting and hiring practices, developing meaningful induction and mentoring programs, managing teacher and staff evaluations, and providing needs-based professional development for all staff.
Identify and explore the components of school plant and safety management, including school-wide student discipline policies and practices, crisis and emergency planning and responses, and managing various funding sources associated with operating a school.
Investigate various strategies for building relationships with all members of the school community, including identifying and understanding diversity in the surrounding community, establishing partnerships with area businesses and organizations, and working effectively with local media outlets.
Examine the responsibilities of managing curriculum, instruction, and assessment in schools, including evaluation of curriculum and instruction practices to maximize learning for all students, analysis of data from local and statewide assessments to drive instructional decisions for school improvement, and development of strategies to support a range of diverse student learning needs.
Complete a supervised internship or work full/part time as a school-based administrator. Demonstrate competency on Colorado principal licensure standards through structured, reflective tasks and leadership-based internship experiences.
Complete a supervised internship or work full/part time as a school-based administrator. Demonstrate competency on Colorado principal licensure standards through structured, reflective tasks and leadership-based internship experiences. Prerequisite: Successful completion of EDUC 678 Administrator Internship I.
Examine, analyze, and synthesize research literature in relation to emerging trends in education. Explore concepts pertaining to quantitative and qualitative research methods and the synergistic relationship between research, theory, and practice. Develop problem posing/solving, information literacy, and critical thinking. Must be taken in the final year of the program.
Investigate theories and trends in curriculum and instruction while understanding their relationship to student data and performance at the school and district levels. Evaluate teaching and assessment as they affect student growth. Assess best practices for developing teachers and schools to increase student learning outcomes.
Understand the characteristics of effective organizational culture from various perspectives. Explore systemic structures and issues within a school and district. Examine and apply critical analysis and creativity related to educational group dynamics that advocate for all students, staff, and stakeholders within an educational community.
Explore legal and ethical issues related to equity, diversity, and accessibility in schools, including examining cases and case law affecting school-based practices, identifying the legal and ethical responsibilities of school employees, and understanding the rights and responsibilities of the members in the school community.
Select and evaluate materials, develop independent readers, involve the community, and establish and manage the literacy environment.
Develop in-depth understanding of scientifically based reading research and instruction for at risk and struggling readers. Provide the tools necessary to diagnose, evaluate and teach struggling readers. Assignments will include the development of intervention programs and the implementation of progress-monitoring reading assessments.
Examine roles and functions of literacy coaching and mentoring to provide professional development for literacy in the school setting.
Prepare educators for school-wide comprehensive literacy program development and delivery.
Complete supervised practicum(s) or internship(s) as a reading teacher at the appropriate grade level(s) for Colorado Department of Education Reading Teacher graduate endorsement. This course can be repeated twice for credit.
Complete supervised practicum(s) or internship(s) as a reading specialist at the appropriate grade level(s) for Colorado Department of Education Reading Specialist graduate endorsement. This course can be repeated twice for credit.
The role of professional literature and experience in the development of leadership capacity that advocates for improvements of education.
Interpreting, planning, conducting, and reporting research results in the field of education. Students must be enrolled in EDUC 693 when utilizing Western Colorado University Graduate Faculty support in conducting research. This course can be repeated for credit and is required the final semester of the M.A. degree in Education Program. Prerequisite: EDUC 680 Research and Critical Inquiry for leaders.
Examine laws and state/national policies affecting schools. Demonstrate an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of teachers and students. Explore the differences between legal and ethical issues in education.
Explore and apply the characteristics of effective school and district leadership and resource management for education-specific programs and initiatives. Identify potential funding agencies and local/state/national partnerships that could help to build resources based to meet school and district needs. Utilize the characteristics of effective grant writing for education-specific programs and initiatives.
Identify stakeholders that support the education system and develop processes for meaningful involvement in activities and decision making. Explore and apply methods for communicating to a variety of audiences. Understand the political and financial nature of community partnerships with schools and districts.
Work individually with a professor to design and complete a self-paced course of study.