The Catholic University of America

Teacher Education Information and Documents

Accredited

General Information & Admittance

Overview

The emphasis in teacher education is on providing the candidate with the professional education coursework needed for state licensure in early childhood, elementary or secondary education. Each of these programs presents teaching as a reflective practice. By developing a reflective, problem-solving orientation toward education, graduates of these programs should be empowered to critically examine their own actions and the context of these actions for the purpose of a more deliberative mode of professional activity. The outcome should be self-directed teachers who use professional knowledge to actively, persistently and carefully improve their practice.
 

Special Skills

The teacher licensure program provides candidates with knowledge of the teaching and schooling processes including learning theory and teaching methodology, interpersonal skills required in the teaching/learning process, knowledge of curriculum theory and design based on individual assessments, competency in the development and use of instructional materials, and opportunities to apply theory through directed practicum experience.
 

Teacher Education at CUA

The Catholic University of America is committed to a strong and vibrant teacher education program, not a teacher training program concerned solely with developing basic teaching skills. While we recognize the need for candidates to demonstrate a basic level of teaching competence, we view that achievement as only the beginning of their professional preparation. We are more concerned with the development of critical, reflective minds and in morally grounded, self-motivated action.

Choosing a Program

Teacher Education is for those wishing to teach in a regular classroom setting.  CUA's Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) has been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP, formerly known as the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education NCATE) since 1975, and all teacher education programs are nationally recognized ad maintain state approval for licensure.
 
  • Early Childhood: for those interested in teaching young children (PreK-3rd grade).
  • Elementary Education: for those interested in teaching in self-contained classrooms (grades 1-6).
  • Secondary Education: for those interested in teaching in a departmentalized classroom setting (grades 7-12)
    • Joint programs are available in the areas of: English, History and Mathematics.  These candidates should inform their academic advisor in order to receive their program of studies and should consult with their coordinator of Secondary Education.
  • Education Studies: This is not a teacher education program, this program is for those interested in teaching in a non-school setting.
The early childhood, elementary, and secondary education programs offer candidates the opportunity to acquire essential knowledge, skills and dispositions for beginning teachers. Candidates who plan to teach children in preschool, kindergarten, or grades one through three should major in early childhood education. Candidates who plan to teach grades one through six should major in elementary education. Candidates who plan to teach in a departmentalized setting in a middle, junior, or senior high school (grades 7-12) have a joint major in education and another Arts and Sciences department. Joint programs in secondary education are offered in the departments of English, history and mathematics. Consult the Department of Education and the department in which you wish to specialize for information about specific programs.
 
A program of studies in education has the same general structure as other programs at The Catholic University of America.  The program includes the basic general education and professional courses required by the certifying authorities of most states.  It is designed to provide candidates with opportunities for study in the liberal arts and sciences, educational foundations and teaching-learning theories with internship experiences during a four-year sequence.  Attention is also given to curricular and instructional strategies for exceptional students and students in varied cultural settings, as well as to an increased demand for computer literacy.
 
All graduates who wish to obtain a teaching license should apply to the District of Columbia Board of Education.  According to DC's reciprocity agreement with 43 states, CUA graduates are eligible for obtaining a teaching license in the states included in the agreement upon meeting their license requirements.
 
Candidates may also pursue teaching licensure in music education.  (See the School of Music for further information).

Admissions & Continuance Requirements for Candidates

Decisions regarding admission and continuance are made by the director of teacher education and the teacher education committee.  Admission or approval to continue in the teacher education program is not automatically granted upon completion of academic requirements.  If any deficiencies are noted in subject or pedagogical knowledge, communications or interpersonal skills, the director of teacher education may require candidates to remedy these deficiencies, which may include taking additional coursework, completing an additional practicum, or obtaining personal counseling.  Serious academic, disposition or other deficiencies preclude one to be admitted or continue in the teacher education program.  Candidates who have been denied admission or continuation in the program have the right to submit a formal appeal to the chairperson by the timeline delineated in the unit assessment system (Appendix B) using the Request for Appeal Form and the Candidate Appeal Checklist in which can be requested from the Office of the Director of Teacher Education (contact Ms. Darby).
 
The teacher education committee can make three kinds of decisions at the time of application for admission:
  1. full admission (for candidates who meet all admission requirements)
  2. provisional admission (for candidates who do not meet all admission requirements but have the potential to do so (e.g., a slightly lower PRAXIS CORE/CASE test score or GPA)
  3. denial (for those candidates who do not meet the admission criteria)

Candidates on provisional status need to meet all the requirements by the end of the provisional semester in order to stay in the program.  If requirements are not met by the deadline, the candidate is denied continuation in the program.  Each candidate is entitled to only one provisional and one probationary semester.

Admission

For admission to the program undergraduate candidates must:

  • Declare an education major in the School of Arts and Sciences
  • Submit passing scores on PRAXIS CORE/CASE tests in the areas of:
    • Reading: 156
    • Writing: 162
    • Math: 150
  • Submit an application for teacher education, including personal statement in LiveText
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Maintain an education GPA of 3.0
  • Maintain a content area GPA of 3.0 (secondary education majors only)
  • Complete self-assessment forms in LiveText
    • disposition survey
    • technology survey
    • candidate profile form
  • Obtain security clearance
  • Devise a long-term plan of studies with an academic advisor
  • Attend orientation session for prospective teacher education candidates
  • (Professors teaching sophomore-level courses at the Department of Education automatically submit letters of reference to the Office of the Director of Teacher Education.  In addition, secondary eduducation candidates should submit the name of a professor in their content specialization area to the Office of the Director of Teacher Education, which will contact professors with a request for reference.)

Continuance

After admission, the teacher education committee continues to monitor candidate performance.  If a candidate's performance falls below expectations, the candidate is placed on probation for a semester.  Program continuance may be contingent on additional coursework, field experiences, or use of resource services.  If the candidate does not meet all requirements by the end of the probationary semester, the candidate is denied continuance.  Candidates are entitled to only one provisional and one probationary semester.

Continuance in the teacher education program is based on academic performance and demonstration of professional dispositions, such as field experience evaluations, disposition survey results, and GPA.  Candidates who are dismissed from the program has the right to appeal the decision using the Request for Appeal Form and the Candidate Appeal Checklist in LiveText.

For continuance in the teacher education program undergraduate candidates must:

  • Maintain an education GPA of 3.0
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Maintain a content area GPA of 3.0 (secondary education candidates only)
  • Obtain a grade of at least a C- in all courses required for state licensure.  If candidates receive a D in a course, they need to contact their adviser.
  • Obtain satisfactory evaluations in field experiences and disposition evaluations.
  • Exhibit professional and ethical behavior in field and course experiences.
  • Complete practicum experiences with documentation of hours spent in schools.
  • Complete all course specific assignments.
  • Maintain security clearance.

Student Teaching

For admission to student teaching undergraduate candidates must:

  • Be fully accepted in the teacher education program.  Candidatesw are required to submit passing scores on the PRAXIS CORE/CASE tests in reading, writing, and mathematics and have taken the PRAXISTM II content area test.
  • Maintain an education GPA of 3.0
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Maintain a content area GPA of 3.0 (secondary education candidates only)
  • Obtain satisfactory evaluations in field experiences in disposition evaluations.
  • Exhibit professional and ethical behavior in field and course experiences.
  • Complete practicum experiences with documentation of hours spent in schools.
  • Complete all course specific assignments.
  • Submit student teaching application in LiveText.
  • Complete A&S Junior Audit.
  • Maintain security clearance.
  • Submit results of a negative TB Test.
  • Attend the orientation meeting for prospective student teachers.
  • Submit Content Area Course Record to program coordinator (secondary candidates only). 

Contact

Dr. Agnes Cave, Ph.D.
Interim Chair, Department of Education
cave@cua.edu

Liliana Maggioni, Ph.D.
Director of Teacher Education
Coordinator of Secondary Social Studies and English Education Program
maggioni@cua.edu

Kathryn Bojczyk, Ph.D
Coordinator of Early Childhood Education Program
bojczyk@cua.edu

Agnes Cave, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Elementary Education Program
cave@cua.edu

Merylann Schuttloffel, Ph.D.
Professor, Director, Catholic Educational Leadership Programs
schuttloffel@cua.edu

Elsie Neely
Director of Field Experience
neely@cua.edu

Carole Brown, Ed.D.
Coordinator of Early Childhood Special Education Program
brownc@cua.edu

Melisa Darby
Administrative Assistant of Teacher Education
darby@cua.edu

Field Experience

Field Experiences

A commitment to linking educational theory and research to instructional practice makes field experiences an important part of teacher preparation at CUA.  The program takes advantage of the unique character of the Washington, D.C. area, introducing candidates to a wide variety of schools.

On-Site Visitation of Elementary and Secondary Schools

Site visits are an important part of EDUC 251: Foundations of Education.  Sophomore candidates visit at least four elementary and secondary public and private schools.  The purpose of these visits is to give candidates the opportunity to learn how different types of schools are organized and to observe teachers working with students in a variety of teaching situations.  Candidates record their observations while touring school facilities and interacting with school professionals and students.  They prepare written reflections after each site visit focusing on the identification of specific instances related to the elements of the learning environment.  They use the three modes of reflection to discuss schooling dilemmas they observe and the implications of teachers' decisions for practice.

Tutorial Program

Sophomore candidates taking EDUC 271: Psychology of Education are required to participate in a tutorial program.  Candidates travel to neighborhood schools to provide remedial help for students primarily in mathematics and reading.  Tutors work with small groups or individual students on skills specified by the classroom teacher.  Candidates complete journal entries on the basis of tutoring interactions.  These assignments are turned in weekly after each session.  Candidates reflect on their own ability to integrate theory learned in class into instructional practice.

Practicum

Students do two semesters of practicum in their junior year.

Student Teaching

Students do one semester of student teaching in their senior year.

More specific information is given in the Student Teaching Handbook and in the Unit Assessment System.

Visiting Schools On-Site

Field and Clinical Experiences: Early Childhood and Elementary Education Programs

Courses (credit hours) Field Experiences / Age / Grade
Beginning Coursework - After admission to CUA but before admission to the Teacher Education Program
EDUC 101: Introduction to Teaching (1cr)(optional) Candidates visit a school for half a day and write about the school's philosophy as they see it expressed in the behavior of the principal, teachers, support staff, and students.  School selection is based on the projected area of interest for each candidate with consideration given to grade and school type.
EDUC 251: Foundations of Education (3cr) Candidates complete four hours of observation in a DC public school to look for evidence of the school's aims, goals, and functions of schooling.  Candidates write about these observations using the CUA conceptual framework as a guide, focusing on educational dilemmas.  Candidates are expected to actively reflect on their own educational experiences and how they compare to the learning environments observed.
EDUC 261: Human Growth and Development (3cr) Candidates complete three hours in an inclusion program serving developing and developmentally delayed elementary-aged children.  The purpose is to observe two students who are at different developmental ages and to compare their cognitive, social, linguistic and motor skills.  This time-sampling observation assignment helps candidates learn to look for a full range of abilities at these ages and reflect on the implications for teachers in the class using CUA's conceptual framework, more specifically, components of the decision making process.
EDUC 271: Psychology of Education (3cr) Candidates complete a minimum of 15 hours of tutoring in an under-resourced elementary school.  The purpose for candidates is to (1) document their attempts to help students who are having difficulty learning to read, write, or do math, (2) connect learning theories to a particular child's performance, and (3) reflect upon their experiences using CUA's conceptual framework (emphasizing the elements of the learning environment).  Seven reflective tutoring journal assignments are used for this assessment.
Middle Coursework - After Admission to and during Continuance in the Teacher Education Program but before Student Teaching

EDUC 313: Classroom Management for Regular and Special Needs Children (3cr)
EDUC 312: Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood and Elementary School (3cr)
Literature in Curriculum (3cr)

Candidates spend two half days a week (six hours a week) for an entire semester (1st professional semester) while taking these courses.  During this time they assist the teacher and practice writing, implementing, and evaluating lessons with small groups of students.  The purpose is to gain experience in teaching in a setting where the regular classroom teacher is present.  Elementary education candidates are placed in one of two blocks of grades (lower elementary: 1st-3rd) grades and upper elementary: 4th-6th grades) for this experience in an urban or suburban private, public or charter school.  Early childhood candidates are placed in either Pre-K/K or 1st-3rd grades.  Type of school and grade block differ in the candidates' next practicum placement.  Candidates learn how to write lesson plans during the junior year as well as a mini action research paper that prepares candidates for the capstone action research paper as evidence for 1st-6th grade impact.  Grades from these methods courses are also used to provide data on candidates' content and pedagogical content knowledge.
EDUC 321: Teaching Early Childhood & Elementary Science, Health & Physical Education (PreK-6th grade) (3cr)
EDUC 320: Teaching Early Childhood & Elementary Social Studies (PreK-6th grade) (3cr)
EDUC 323: Methods and Materials in Modern Elementary Mathematics (3cr)
EDUC 324: Reading and Language Arts in the Elementary School (3cr)
Candidates spend one full and one half-day (nine hours/week) for the entire semester (2nd professional semester) in field experiences while taking these courses.  They practice developing, implementing, and evaluating lesson plans and an integrated thematic unit for their practicum classrooms.  Type of school and grade block differ from previous placement experience.  Grades from these methods courses are also used to provide data on candidates' content and pedagogical content knowledge.  Cooperating teachers evaluate candidates using both a general practicum evaluation and the unit's disposition survey that is used throughout the candidates' course of study.
EDUC 342: Models in Early Childhood Education (3cr) (ECE only) Completed in conjunction with a practicum experience described above or with student teaching.  Additional requirements include observations in three program types including a Reggio Emilia program for 3-6 year olds, a kindergarten at a public charter school, and a first grade at a Catholic elementary school.   The purpose is to explore early childhood teacher roles and responsibilities and to see how different philosophies of education are translated into programs for young children.
EDUC 341: Curriculum and Strategies in Early Childhood Education (3cr) (ECE only) Completed in conjunction with student teaching or a practicum experience.  Early childhood candidates select one child at their field site for intensive study and practice using authentic assessment strategies and curriculum development.  They also develop an integrated project designed to gain experience in planning a one-week integrated unit for young children (3-4, 4-5, or 5-6 year olds) and describe how they communicate their ideas with parents.
 Final Coursework -  After Admission to Student Teaching
 EDUC 400, 411, 412, 413: Supervised Internship in Elementary (12cr)
Or
EDUC 400, 401, 402, 403: Supervised Internship in Early Childhood (12cr)
14 weeks of student teaching in PreK-3rd or 1st-6th grade under the guidance of an experienced teacher, assuming complete responsibility for the class for at least four weeks.  Candidates complete an action research project in conjunction with this internship and are evaluated by their cooperating teacher and university supervisor.  Candidates must document their reflections on this experience and the whole program.  Key assessment - action research paper, student teaching evaluation, electronic portfolio.
 EDUC 600: Supervised Teaching for Classroom Teachers (4cr) Candidates who are currently teaching attend the student teaching seminar and complete capstone requirements (action research, electronic portfolio) in their classrooms.  Candidates submit documentation of successful teaching, and they are observed by CUA faculty supervisors.  Candidates with recent, prior teaching experience may be eligible to take EDUC 600.

 

Field and Clinical Experiences: Secondary Education Program

Courses (credit hours)  Field Experiences / Age / Grade
 Beginning Course - After admission to CUA but before admission to the Teacher Education Program
EDUC 101: Introduction to Teaching (1cr) (optional) Candidates visit a school for half a day and write about the school's philosophy as they see it expressed in the behavior of the principal, teachers, support staff, and students.  School selection is based on the projected area of interest for each candidate with consideration given to grade and school type.
EDUC 251: Foundations of Education (3cr) Candidates complete four hours of observation in a DC public school to look for evidence of the school's aims, goals, and functions of schooling.  Candidates write about these observations using the CUA conceptual framework as a guide, focusing on educational dilemmas.  Candidates are expected to actively reflect on their own educational experiences and how they compare to the learning environments observed.
EDUC 271: Psychology of Education (3cr) Candidates complete a minimum of 15 hours of tutoring in an under-resourced elementary school.  The purpose for candidates is to (1) document their attempts to help students who are having difficulty learning to read, write, or do math, (2) connect learning theories to a particular child's performance, and (3) reflect upon their experiences using CUA's conceptual framework (emphasizing the elements of the learning environment).  Seven reflective tutoring journal assignments are used for this assessment.
  Middle Coursework - After Admission to and during Continuance in the Teacher Education Program but before Student Teaching
EDUC 382 Reading in the Content Areas This course focuses on adolescent literacy and teaching and learning in content area classrooms.  Students will critically address traditional and contemporary literacies and the processes necessary for learning from a variety of texts.  Students will develop a unit of instruction designed to meet the literacy needs of diverse learners.  The 20 hour internship is an integral part of this course.
EDUC 386: Curriculum and Methods in Adolescent Education (3cr) Observation in content area classrooms.  A series of observation papers are assigned requiring use of the conceptual framework to consider how secondary school learning environments reflect the needs of diverse, adolescent learners.  A final paper focuses on discussion of dilemmas inherent in the learning environment and development of a philosophy of education.  Students have 20 practicum hours with this course.
xxx: Methods of Teaching in the Content Area (3cr) In content-specific methods courses (English, math, social studies) candidates observe in secondary classrooms and complete assignments that focus reflection on the elements of the learning environment, professional standards, and a philosophy of teaching.  Students have 30 practicum hours with this course.
Final Coursework - After Admission to Student Teaching
EDUC 461, 462, 463: Supervised Internship in Secondary Education (12cr) 14 weeks of student teaching in 7th-12th grade under the guidance of an experienced cooperating teacher assuming complete responsibility for the class for at least four weeks.  Candidates complete an action research project in conjunction with this internship and are evaluated by their cooperating teacher and university supervisor.  Candidates must document their reflections on this experience and the whole program. Students are also required to create an electronic portfolio as part of their student teaching experience.

 

Practicum

A weekly practicum is required of undergraduate juniors concentrating in elementary or early childhood education.  In the first professional semester candidates intern for two mornings a week in the same classroom.  In the second professional semester, candidates intern for one full day and one half day a week.  Concurrent class work in major methods courses are carried out in the practicum setting.

Throughout the year candidates practice newly learned methods in a comfortable setting.  Problem solving and reflective analysis of classroom situations are also encouraged.  Secondary education candidates are required to complete a series of eight observations and interview assignments in an area high school prior to student teaching.  In these assignments, compiled in a secondary education Field Experiences Packet, candidates analyze the school and community context, the curriculum, instructional and management strategies, etc.  They keep a journal of entries on each assignment which they discuss with the Secondary Education faculty coordinator.  Candidates are also encouraged to assist with classroom instruction.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is a critical event in the teacher education program at CUA.  This experience provides a setting for the beginning teacher to use the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions acquired in previous coursework.  During this time the pre-service teacher continues to develop a number of intellectual, personal, and professional orientations needed for successful teaching.  The student teacher takes responsibility for fulfilling the roles of a professional teacher: content specialist, learning diagnostician, group manager, evaluator, and curriculum developer.  At CUA, student teaching is a full-time 14-week supervised field experience.  The cooperating teacher and university supervisor work closely with the student teacher to improve teaching performance while encouraging self-evaluation and reflection.  Supervision provided by the cooperating teacher and university supervisor encourages a pattern of self-initiated professional growth.  Each member of the essential triad shares the responsibility for the success of this venture.

The following objectives have been identified for the student teaching experience:

  1. To give student teachers an adequate and effective series of learning experiences in preparation for the teaching profession including the formulation and implementation of daily, weekly and long-range lesson plans, and the selection, preparation and implementation of varied instructional materials.
  2. To develop student teachers' abilities to identify problems and difficulties in their own teaching situations and to use professional knowledge and resources to overcome them.
  3. To determine if the student teacher has qualities associated with good teaching: an interest in teaching and love of children, emotional balance and self-knowledge, good interpersonal skills, intellectual and physical energy, breadth of interest, professional appearance and behavior.
  4. To develop student teachers' reflective skills and dispositions enabling them to examine the elements of the learning environment, utilize modes of deliberation, and make reasoned judgments about educational dilemmas they encounter.

Candidates should submit their student teaching application through LiveText by the second week of the semester prior to student teaching.

Approval to student teach is granted following full acceptance in the teacher education program, and assessment of current academic status, program standing, successful performance in prior field experiences, and the completion of appropriate PRAXIS II content area tests prior to application.

The Director of Teacher Education approves all student teaching applications and placements with input from other faculty and field supervisors.  The Student Teaching Handbook, which is available on the departmental website and distributed to all student teachers, supervisors, and cooperating teachers prior to the student teaching semester includes all details regarding the student teaching experience.

Please note: The Office of the State Superintendent of Education of the District of  Columbia may refuse to grant a teaching license to an applicant convicted, as an adult, of an act of immoral conduct contributing to the delinquency of a child, or a felony involving moral turpitude or other similar crimes.

Assessment & Exit Requirements

Comprehensive Exams: Action Research Project

All candidates must pass a capstone experience called the Action Research Project (ARP) to exit the teacher education program.  The purpose of this exercise is to give candidates a chance to integrate the information and skills they have acquired in coursework and field experiences.  This comprehensive capstone assignment also allows the Department of Education to maintain and monitor the high standards and expectations set for program graduates.  Although screening devices and student supports are built into the program at every level, comprehensive examinations ensure that graduating candidates are ready to begin their professional career as educators.  Secondary education candidates take their comprehensive exams in their area of specialization at the Department of English, History, or Mathematics in addition to completing their ARP at the Department of Education.
 

Action Research Paper

All teacher education candidates write an action research project (ARP) as their capstone experience in their student teaching semester  Candidates write a summary of their problem-solving activities, which becomes the basis for further study.  Candidates are required to complete a review of the literature related to the topic and to integrate experience and literature in formulating their personal philosophy of education.  Faculty work with candidates throughout the project by supporting candidates, scaffolding their learning, and providing feedback.  Faculty give feedback and suggestions during the student teaching seminar and at individual meetings.  Candidates are given one hour of academic credit for this key assessment as part of the student teaching experience.

Exit Requirements for Candidates

For exit and graduation, undergraduate candidates must:

  • Pass A&S Graduation Audit
  • Successfully complete all coursework required for state licensure with no grade lower than a C-
  • Successfully complete a range of field experiences with related course assignments incuding a fourteen-week student teaching placement or other internship.  Candidates involved in student teaching are required to complete an action research project.
  • Complete an electronic portfolio and successfully present it to a panel of faculty.
  • Receive a passing grade on the comprehensive examination.  Early childhood and elementary education candidates complete the action research paper in lieu of the comprehensive exam.  The action research project template and the matching scoring guide are included in LiveText.  Secondary candidates also complete an action research paper in the student teaching seminar, and take a comprehensive exam in their content area A&S departments.
  • Complete alumni survey

For teaching licensure undergraduate candidates must:

  • Pass required PRAXISTM II exams as outlined by the District of Columbia.
  • Meet the minimum benchmarks on all key assessments.
  • Submit a completed license application (along with a $50 money order made out to "DC Treasurer") to the director of teacher education
  • Submit a criminal background check or FBI check with license application

After employment undergraduate candidates must:

  • Complete the alumni survey to evaluate the quality of CUA's teacher education program
  • Inform the Office of the Director of Teacher Education of thier employment so that CUA can request the employer to fill out the employer survey.

Licensure information can be found here