Conceptual Framework for the Professional Education Program
The professional education program at Western Carolina University fulfills its mission by creating and nourishing a community of learners guided by knowledge, values, and experiences. The guiding principles of this community include the belief that the best educational decisions are made after adequate reflection and with careful consideration of the interests, experiences, and welfare of the persons affected by the decisions; appreciation of and respect for diversity; and the fostering of the responsible use of technology.
Admission to the Teacher Education Program
Acceptance and registration in a department do not guarantee admission to the teacher education program in that department. The applicant’s fitness for teaching in the chosen area is determined on the basis of demonstrated academic ability and other personal characteristics conducive to effective teaching. A student may be considered suitable in one area and unsuitable in another. Students with speech defects that will interfere with successful teaching may be required to take corrective therapy.
Students who plan to receive a degree in education or a license through Western Carolina University must apply for and be officially admitted to a teacher education program. Admission to teacher education requires an application that should be completed during the semester in which the student is enrolled in EDCI 201 (BK 250 for BK majors) a prerequisite to all other courses in the professional education sequence that may be taken before being fully admitted to teacher education. Applications are available online in the Teacher Education Handbook.
All requirements for admission to teacher education should be met by the end of the semester the student is enrolled in EDCI 201 (BK 250 for BK majors). The following criteria are minimum requirements for admission:
- Completed at least 30 hours (which can also include transfer hours);
- Earned a C (2.0) or higher grade in EDCI 201 ( BK 250 for BK majors), ENGL 101. NOTE: Earning a C (2.0) or higher grade in ENGL 202 is required before beginning Internship 1 or student teaching);
- Earned (and then maintain) a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75;
- Achieved the minimum required scores on the SAT, ACT or Pre-Professional Skills Test Praxis I (Reading, Writing, Mathematics);
- Subscribe to TK 20;
- Complete the Personality Survey via TK 20;
- Complete the Diversity Scale via TK 20;
- Complete the Professional Dispositions Contract;
- Submitted the application for Admission to Teacher Education.
Applicants already holding non-teacher education degrees and/or seeking a teaching license must meet all of the above requirements except they are not required to take the PPST. (Applicants to the B-K program without a teaching license must have had a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 at the time of graduation. Applicants with non-teaching degrees from accredited institutions without cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 have two options:
- The student is eligible to apply for admission to a licensure-only or a second-degree program no sooner than three calendar years after receipt of the baccalaureate degree.
- The student is eligible to apply with passing scores on Praxis Core tests and one of the following:
- a GPA of 3.0 in the major field of study;
- a GPA of 3.0 on all work completed in the senior year; or
- a GPA of 3.0 on a minimum of 15 semester hours of course work (relative to licensure) completed during the preceding five years.
Students must have maintained satisfactory conduct and citizenship records which are in keeping with the ethics of the teaching profession. A student who is readmitted to the university after dismissal, suspension, or expulsion will not be readmitted to the teacher education program the first term after returning. Applicants with a record of legal offenses may not be eligible for admission to teacher education.
Continuation in the Teacher Education Program
The requirements for continuing in the program are (1) a GPA of at least 2.75 on hours attempted, (2) behavior which adheres to the NC code of ethics of the profession and the professional dispositions of the College of Education and Allied Professions, and (3) satisfactory participation in the required professional field experience program that is prerequisite to student teaching. An evaluation of each field experience assignment will become a part of the student’s professional record.
If a student fails two courses or any one course in the professional education sequence twice, the student is withdrawn from teacher education.
Clinical and Field Experience for Professional Education
The teacher education program requires field experiences in conjunction with several courses in addition to the intern/student-teaching requirement. Students are expected to make their own arrangements for transportation and housing and absorb the costs related to field experiences and internship or student teaching. Each program has different requirements, and students should discuss costs with the program head prior to applying for admission to the teacher education program. The goal of professional education clinical and field experiences is to help teacher education students learn to teach all of their pupils to achieve at high levels of performance. Although each field experience requirement has its own specific purpose and placement procedures, the strategies to achieve this goal are stated below:
- Field experience placements are made so that students have the opportunity to work with qualified educators in successful programs.
- Field experience placements are made so that students have the opportunity to work with diverse learners. Teacher education students are required to complete one field experience in a diverse setting, as defined by the College of Education and Allied Professions. Students who do not complete one of the early field experience requirements in a diverse setting must be placed in a diverse setting for the internship or student teaching semester.
- Field experiences placements are made in collaboration with B-12 school personnel.
- Field experience placements are made to facilitate appropriate supervision of students.
- There may be times where the student can combine early field experience placements to meet multiple course requirements. This is approved for no more than two classes.
Admission to Student Teaching/Internship
Students apply to the director of field experiences early in the semester prior to the semester in which student teaching/internship is to be done. The requirements for admission to student teaching/internship are: (1) completion of at least 39 of 42 hours required for Liberal Studies, (2) enrollment in the professional education sequence for at least two semesters, (3) completion of at least ninety hours in a teacher education curriculum, (4) a GPA of 2.75 or above, both at the beginning of the term immediately preceding the student teaching/internship term and at the time of enrollment in student teaching/internship, (5) completion of at least two-thirds of the major, (6) completion of all records designated by the director of field experiences, (7) completion of the applicable professional education sequence except for student teaching/internship and the student teaching/internship seminar, (8) completion of an approved SBI background check, (9) completion of student teaching/internship application including recommendation by adviser and department head, and (10) all other requirements from the school placement as applicable.
Continuation in Student Teaching/Internship
To continue in student teaching/internship, students must maintain satisfactory professional conduct and adhere to the policies and regulations of the school to which they are assigned. When recommended by the director of field experiences and approved by the dean, students failing to perform at a satisfactory level may be removed from student teaching/internship. Removal from a school placement is considered a failed internship. The Office of Field Experiences under no obligation place the student in another setting. Removal from a school placement will result in a grade no higher than a D.
Requirements for Teacher Licensure
To be eligible for an initial or “A” level North Carolina teacher license, a student must (1) complete one of the approved teacher-education programs, (2) achieve a minimum grade of C (2.0) in internship or student teaching, (3) receive a public school recommendation indicating that student teaching was successful, (4) receive a satisfactory recommendation by meeting all competencies on the Certification of Teaching Capacity document completed after internship/student teaching, (5) complete application for licensure and file with the licensure specialist of the College of Education and Allied Professions, (6) achieve the minimum score on the PRAXIS II and/or Pearson tests, (7) receive a professional recommendation for Initial ”A” level license by the Licensure Officer of the College of Education and Allied Professions, and (8) pay the license fee required by the Department of Public Education for the issuance of a teacher license.