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Dr. Maria Oreshkina, Chair & Director of Graduate Programs
570-941-7421 or 570-941-6244
Director of Field Experiences – David Angeloni
Assistant Director of Field Experiences – Scott Reilly
Certification Officer – Dr. Vanessa Jensen
Coordinator of PCPS Graduate Academic Services - Tammy Manka
Department Faculty: Professor - Tata J. Mbugua; Associate Professors- Jennifer Kaschak, Maria Oreshkina.
The Department of Education offers a variety of programs for individuals currently in the field of education as well as for individuals wishing to enter the field. The programs include preparation for initial certification for a number of positions as well as for second certifications. The department offers the Master of Science degree, some of which are directly connected to certification and some of which may be pursued by those who already hold certifications. For in-service teachers, individual courses may be taken in order to update skills and knowledge or to pursue new fields are offered. The various programs and options are described under Programs.
Admission requirements for all programs in the Department of Education include those as described in the Admission and Registration section of this catalog. Applicants should include their resume as a part of their application packet. In addition, all individuals applying to the Department of Education are expected to possess an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale). The Department will make an admission recommendation based on an applicant’s academic performance as evidenced by transcripts, a letter for admission, and three letters of recommendation. An applicant whose undergraduate GPA falls below the level of 3.00 must submit other evidence of his/her ability to complete successfully a graduate program, such as grades in other post-baccalaureate courses/programs, scores from examinations (e.g. Graduate Record Examination), or a record of successful completion of progressively higher work responsibilities. In addition to the application material, the Education Department may request a phone or in-person interview with an applicant.
Candidates for the Master of Science degree must pass a capstone experience in the field of their degree or complete a capstone experience course, depending on the particular program. Candidates for the Master of Arts degree must also complete a thesis under the direction of a faculty member with expertise in the area of study. Additional requirements for each program are described under the appropriate program description.
The Education Department ordinarily does not permit students to take courses concurrently with the student-teaching sequence. Students seeking deviations from this policy must complete a form requiring the approvals of the advisor, the appropriate program director, the department chairperson, and the Dean. Student teaching requires application, which must be submitted to the appropriate advisor and approved by the program director, prior to registration for the student teaching semester. Act 114 FBI Fingerprint, Act 34 Background Checks, Act 151 Child Abuse History Clearance, Act 24 of 2011, and TB test are required prior to receiving a field assignment. Students must comply with field and student teaching application deadlines.
The comprehensive examination is the capstone experience for students pursuing a MS degree in Special Education and Secondary Education. Comprehensive examination questions reflect theory, practice, and the synergy of both to the student. The comprehensive examination is taken near the end of the student’s program of study. Students must pass the comprehensive examination before being awarded a Master’s degree.
A comprehensive practicum is the capstone experience for all students in the Educational Administration and Curriculum and Instruction programs.
The thesis is the comprehensive, research-based capstone experience for students pursuing a Master of Arts degree in the Department of Education. The thesis is directed by a faculty member with expertise in the area of study. The thesis director will serve as the chair of a three-faculty thesis committee selected by the student. Of the three-faculty committee, one may be located outside the Department of Education. The three-faculty committee will serve as an examination board and make a determination about the worthiness of the study. Successfully defending the thesis is a prerequisite for receiving the Master of Arts degree.
Clearances and TB Test
As a matter of University policy, all education students are required to submit a completed Act 34 Background checks, Act 151 Pennsylvania Child Abuse History, Act 114 FBI Fingerprint clearances, Act 24 of 2011 and evidence of a completed and valid TB test to the Department of Education prior to being placed in any field experience that would put the student in direct contact with school children. These clearances are required by the University on behalf of the school entity where the field experience will occur. No student will be permitted to complete formal field work of any kind previous to submission of all forms. The completed Act 34, Act 151, Act 24 and Act 114 FBI Fingerprint Clearance forms will be delivered to the school entity by the Department of Education. The University will not maintain a student’s clearances or background checks after delivery of the forms to the school entity where the field experience will occur. Any citation on the Act 34, Act 151 or FBI Fingerprint Clearance forms may be cause for dismissal from the student’s program of study.
All candidates for a certificate must exhibit pre-certification competency of 22 PA Code, chapter 49.2 before being recommended for the certification they seek. Education students seeking certification are evaluated annually by the Department of Education faculty. This evaluation is based on both academic and non-academic (personal and professional) criteria. Students whose professional development (professional dispositions) is deemed unsatisfactory in these areas are subject to department probation and may be recommended to the Academic Dean for dismissal from their program of study.
A student who is enrolled in any certification program at the University and is recommended for dismissal from the program of study or is refused University endorsement for certification may appeal the decision. The appeal is made through the Chair of the Department of Education to the Teacher Education Committee, and then to a committee consisting of three persons: the Dean of PCPS, the Chair of the Department of Education, and a faculty member selected by the Director of Graduate Programs.
In order for certification applications to be processed, the student must successfully complete all curricular and Praxis Series or PECT test requirements. The required tests are listed in the Praxis Series Registration Bulletin available on line at www.ets.org/praxis, where additional information can be found.
Federal regulations in the Higher Education Act of 1998 require that departments of teacher education report their students’ performance on the Praxis/PECT series examinations. An analysis of the results from every academic year is available from the Chair of the Department of Education.
Approval of the mentor, certification officer, and graduate program director must be received before a course may be substituted for any course required in the specified certification program. Courses to be transferred from another college for certification purposes must also receive approval of the Education Department Director of Graduate Programs and Certification Officer before the courses are accepted for certification requirements.
All certification programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
Important note: Due to Pennsylvania Department of Education mandates, changes in teacher education programs may require changes to curricular requirements for all of the education programs. If students plan to be certified in states other than Pennsylvania, students are advised to research certification requirements for the respective states.
International students have the opportunity to complete Curriculum & Instruction or Secondary Education Master’s degree programs; and may be required to enroll into additional course work before beginning a graduate program. Note that international students cannot be recommended for certification in Pennsylvania. Therefore, international students are not required to take the Praxis II assessments. International students interested in Secondary Education programs should contact the Graduate Program Director to discuss how their undergraduate course work corresponds to grades 7-12 content areas.