Union University
Union University Center for Educational Practice

New Internship Major for Elementary and Special Education Candidates

March 5, 2013 - The Union University Teacher Education Initiative (UUTEI) continues to bear the fruit of change. At the February meeting of the Greater Faculty, new Teaching and Learning (T&L) and Interdisciplinary majors were approved for Union University students seeking to teach children in Preschool through Eighth Grade. The new majors emphasize clinically-based practice culminating in a year-long internship the senior year. The internship is an incremental immersion clinical experience beginning with 2 days weekly in schools in the fall semester, moving to 5 days a week in the spring semester. The T&L and Interdisciplinary majors lead to a 4-year baccalaureate degree with teacher licensure.

Teaching candidates may also opt to couple a traditional school subject major (in English, Mathematics, Science, Language, History, etc.) with the Interdisciplinary Studies major and graduate in five years with a bachelor’s degree and the master’s internship degree. This option is called a 4+1 degree program and has the advantage of counting the graduate internship as the first year of teaching.

Both tracks emphasize rich preparation for the challenges of the 21st century classroom. Dr. Ann Singleton, Associate Dean of the School of Education, comments, “Our Union students are being offered cutting edge preparation to meet the rapidly changing demands of schools. We want our graduates to be fully ready, even as they begin their first year of teaching.”

The Greater Faculty also approved a newly revised Special Education 4-year internship degree. Dr. Michele Atkins, chair of the undergraduate UUTEI committee, is pleased with the results: “This degree program incorporates all the good things we have been doing and adds the improvements we needed to make to ensure the best teacher preparation anywhere.”

And, Dr. Tom Rosebrough, Executive Dean, adds, “We have created curriculum that offers preparatory strands of diversity, integrated technology, data-driven assessment, transformational teaching concepts of student goals and teacher roles, and enhanced clinically-based experiences. Our faculty members have carefully studied current national trends in consultation with local schools and are excited about this new set of majors for our students.”

The first internship year is scheduled to begin fall 2014.

M.Ed. Revisions Approved by the University’s Governance Structure

October 3, 2011 - The Union University faculty convened today for its monthly meeting. Among other agenda items, the university’s greater faculty approved the School of Education’s proposed revisions to its Master of Education program. Associate Provost and Dean of Instruction, Dr. Barbara McMillin presented the School of Education’s proposal to the university faculty, as the governance structure of the university calls for faculty approval of such revisions.

The faculty’s approval of the revisions marks the culmination of months of work on the part of the School of Education’s graduate program. The work is a part of the School of Education’s internal program evaluation, formally known as the Union University Teacher Education Initiative (UUTEI). The School of Education had previously voted to accept such changes during a departmental retreat held on August 29, 2011.

The proposal included revisions to the Teaching and Learning track of the M.Ed., while also adding a new Instructional Leadership track to the degree. The revisions and addition offer relevant curriculum for teachers and school leaders, while incorporating dynamic processes like increased technology integration, reflective teaching lessons, and standards-based performance assessment.

Master of Education Program Revisions Approved by School of Education

August 31, 2011 - Union University’s School of Education has been busily working to further enrich its degree offerings in relation to 21 st Century learning needs and contemporary educational culture. The work, formally known as the Union University Teacher Education Initiative (UUTEI), is an internal, comprehensive program evaluation aiming to make changes relevant to the needs of today’s educational environment.

On August 29, the School of Education approved and sent on to the next phase of the university’s governance structure a significantly revised and enhanced M.Ed. degree. The new M.Ed. degree models not only relevant curriculum for teachers and school leaders, but it also incorporates dynamic processes like increased technology integration, reflective teaching lessons, and standards-based performance assessment. The recent approval was based on months of work and related discussions, which most recently culminated in proposals and analysis among deans, directors, and faculty members at a departmental retreat held at the Double Tree hotel in Jackson, TN on August 15-16, 2011.

The framework for the UUTEI initiative is based on the work of Dr. Thomas R. Rosebrough, executive dean of the College of Education and Human Studies, and Dr. Ralph G. Leverett, university professor of special education and director of the Master of Education program in Jackson. Their work was recently published by ASCD and is titled, Transformational Teaching in the Information Age: Making How and Why We Teach Relevant to Students.

Underlying the revisions to the M.Ed. program are what Rosebrough and Leverett have identified as the tenants of transformational teaching: Effective teachers need to be scholars, practitioners, and relaters in their work with students. These components emphasize that teachers and today’s system of education need to embrace rigor, relevance, and relationships among students.

Dr. Stephen R. Marvin, director of the M.Ed. program on Union University’s Germantown, TN campus, is chairing the graduate education committee for the UUTEI. Dr. Marvin states, “We are very excited about the proposed significant changes to our M.Ed. program and the impact those changes will have on our students as they increasingly develop as classroom teachers and school administrators.” The changes will affect and be aligned across all three of Union’s campuses, which are located in Jackson, Germantown, and Hendersonville, TN.

The proposed changes are pending the approval of the university’s governance structure and are only the start of such proposals to be made by the School of Education and its UUTEI work.

Dr. Stephen R. Marvin, chair of the Graduate UUTEI committee, discusses proposed changes to the Teaching and Learning track of the revised M.Ed. program. Dr. Michele W. Atkins, chair of the Undergraduate UUTEI committee, presents a proposed video-integration strategy for use within the teacher education program. Dr. Ben T. Phillips, Ed.S. and Ed.D. Director on Union’s Jackson, TN campus, shares the details of a new Instructional Leadership track to the revised M.Ed. program.

The Union University Teacher Education Initiative

April 3, 2011 - The School of Education at Union University, accredited by NCATE and nationally honored by AILACTE, has launched a comprehensive study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels of how teachers are prepared for practice. Research seems to be clear on the dramatically positive impact of quality teachers in classrooms, and Union’s teacher educators want to continue to lead the way in preparing teachers who transform the lives of young students.

Executive Dean Tom Rosebrough launched the Union University Teacher Education Initiative (UUTEI) on February 1, 2011, saying, “We must study our current practices in light of the contemporary educational culture, gather evidence about effective teacher education, make needed, wise, and systematic changes, and publicize our responses. Please anticipate an SOE faculty-wide immersion in this process, with other teacher educators across the university joining us this fall. Whatever our result, we want it to be uniquely matched to the university’s core values and to serving the needs of teachers, students, and schools.” The School of Education faculty has begun the UUTEI study by brainstorming two broad questions:

  1. What do we currently do well?
  2. What do we need to change?

Two SOE committees were appointed, one to study contemporary educational culture and answer these questions for undergraduate teacher education, chaired by Dr. Michele Atkins, and another committee for graduate teacher education chaired by Dr. Stephen Marvin. UUTEI committees are now active with faculty members meeting from Jackson, Germantown, and Hendersonville campuses.

Early discussions have centered on the balance between the art and the science of teaching, the effective teacher, value-added teacher training, accountability measures, holism in roles for teachers and in goals for learners, clinical models for teacher preparation, video-taped reflective teaching lessons, technology-enhanced guided inquiry pedagogy, and more. Data are currently being gathered from stakeholders in the educational community to assist in answering the initial two questions for study.

It is anticipated that School of Education faculty will meet in a retreat format this summer to begin to synthesize findings.